By Abbas Haleem
Chicago’s winter weather may have helped Roosevelt University Wednesday night by cooling off Judson University’s shooters.
The Eagles were overheard complaining about the temperature outside during pregame stretching. It turns out they also couldn’t shake off the cold inside: Judson’s 34 percent shooting from the field led to Roosevelt’s 88-70 victory at the Lillian and Larry Goodman Center on Wabash Avenue.
The Eagles (2-8 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) had converted 34 three-point shots in their last two games. But with Roosevelt Lakers’ perimeter defense, they made just eight shots beyond the arc.
“That’s a good part of our identity: shooting the three,” Judson coach Joel Cotton said. “That’s going to come and go. Give credit to them and how they defended us. They didn’t give us many open looks.”
The Lakers had 8 steals and 41 rebounds, and they limited Judson to 33 rebounds.
“They’re a really good three-point shooting team, and we kind of took them out of that,” said Lakers guard Jake Ludwig, who had 22 points on 50 percent shooting. “They didn’t really know what to do.”
The Lakers (4-7 in conference) took the lead in the first two minutes and kept it for the rest of the game. Lakers coach Joe Griffin said he told his players at halftime that they “looked like the San Antonio Spurs” with the way they were passing for layups and open shots. The Lakers had 16 assists at the half and 26 overall.
Kevin Priebe and Ludwig, the team’s leading scorer throughout the season, dished six assists each. Roosevelt also had just nine turnovers compared with a season average of 13.8 turnovers per game.
“We haven’t had this year to talk about guys being ball hogs or hunting for shots,” Griffin said. “They’re just really unselfish kids. They care for their teammates. They just want to make the right play, and that was demonstrated tonight.”
Guard Korey Ryan, the team’s three-point specialist, drained 4 of 7 three-point attempts and finished with 17 points. Priebe went 11-14 from the field, making his only three-pointer and finishing with a game and season high of 24 points.
Normally the Lakers are close or down at the half, something Griffin told his players before the tipoff. The game taught the team about the importance of maintaining leads, Griffin said. So far this season, the Lakers scored 110 fewer points than their opponents in the first half and five more than their opponents in the second.
Losing three conference games last week may have led his players to wrongly doubt themselves, he said.