The UR men’s basketball team faced a challenging weekend against Emory University and Case Western Reserve University and came out victorious at home in both home matches.
This weekend was especially important for senior forward Mike Chmielowiec, as he entered Friday’s game with some extra pressure the possibility of scoring his 1,000th career point.
‘I approach each game with the same mindset,” Chmielowiec said. ‘However, I was hoping I would be able to reach the milestone on Friday night.”
The remaining ‘Jackets went into the Emory game with their traditional attitude and were able to prepare well, having just played the Eagles last weekend in Atlanta.
The team has built itself on the concept of bringing everything to the table at each game. UR settled into a habit of teamwork and faith in one another, even when their games are going down to the wire. The Yellowjackets lost their game to Emory the weekend before and knew that this Friday’s game would be another close one.
On Friday, it seemed that each time UR gained some control and a fairly comfortable lead, an Emory guard would knock down a shot, refusing to go away.
‘Emory loves to push the tempo,” Chmielowiec said. ‘[But] I thought we did aa great job of slowing them down and working through for points.”
UR earned a 75-63 win over the Eagles. Chmielowiec had a career-high 36 points. Senior guard Max Kaplan recorded seven assists, and sophomore guard Matt Murphy contributed two key blocks.
Two weeks ago, UR pulled out a nail-biter at Case Western and was ready for a repeat this past weekend.
‘Case sprints out of the gate,” Chmielowiec said. ‘So a big part of our game plan focused on slowing them down early.”
The ‘Jackets won Sunday’s game, 65-58. Sophomore forward Marcus Roberson and freshman forward Nate Novosel had double-doubles in the victory. Chmielowiec scored 18 points, and Kaplan had seven points, seven assists and five steals.
UR improved to 15-5 overall, 6-3 in the University Athletic Association and 9-2 at home.
‘The league is so tough,” Chmieloweic said. ‘Anytime you are able to [play at] home, you need to defend it.”
At home and on the road, Chmielowiec and Kaplan have been UR’s primary leaders, but the young ‘Jackets team has gained experience, playing close games.
Chmielowiec and Kaplan have been UR’s primary leaders, but the young ‘Jacket team has gained a wealth of experience in playing close games such as those against Emory and Case both this weekend and last.
This experience will help the team on its way to achieving its ultimate goal making the NCAA tournament and was showcased in UR’s games this weekend.
‘We need to outwork people and prepare with a sense of urgency,” Chmieloweic said. ‘We knew what we had to do in each game to win and each man did his job to contribute.”
Nicewicz is a member of the class of 2009.