DECATUR, Ill. – Cole Schmitz's triple just a minute and a half into game gave the visiting University of Chicago men's basketball team a lead it would not relinquish as the Maroons held off Millikin University, 85-75, in to win their season opener Sunday.
Schmitz led the way from start to finish, as the senior finished with a career-high 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 6-of-8 from downtown. Dominic Laravie added 16 points (7-of-9 from the floor) and first-year Bryce Hopkins added 12 points, five boards and four steals off the bench.
Senior point guard Jordan Baum added a near triple-double with 10 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
UChicago (1-0) led 31-26 at the break and by as many as 11 in the first period when Laravie's layup made it 26-15 with 7:27 to go. Millikin would respond with two straight buckets, but Zach Munson's 3-ball quelled the comeback – the Maroons made 6-of-15 from deep in the first half compared to 2-for-9 for the Big Blue.
Three-point shooting proved to be key for the game. UChicago made seven more from deep in the second half, finishing 13-for-30 while holding Millikin to 5-of-21. In total field goals, the Maroons finished 53.4 percent compared to 46.7 percent for Millikin.
The Maroons never trailed in the second frame, but the host Big Blue kept it close throughout. Brandon Beckman's layup with five minutes to play gave UChicago a six-point (67-61) advantage, but back-to-back jumpers by Millikin trimmed that lead to just two, 67-65, with 3:51 left.
It was Munson again that answered with a clutch triple to push UChicago's lead to five, and a minute later, Brennan McDaniel's layup made it a seven-point lead again (72-65) with 2:22 to play. Baum would go on to hit a triple and two free throws to push it further out of the reach for the hosts.
Jake Hampton had 23 points and Troy Burrows added 16 to lead Millikin in the loss.
- Wednesday, Nov. 13: Lake Forest at UChicago, 7:30 p.m. CT