CHICAGO, Ill. - Southwestern opened their season in Chicago and fell 74-71 despite shooting over 55% from the field in the game.
The Pirates came rushing out of the gates, starting on a 9-2 run in the opening four minutes with seven points from Chase Kocher in the stretch. SU pushed their lead to 10 at the halfway mark before UC started to push back and closed the gap to four points by halftime 34-30.
As the second half got underway, Chicago was able to close the gap from the three point line and free throw line, taking the lead for the first time 52-51, with 11:35 to go in the half. The lead seesawed back and forth and UC pulled ahead by seven, 60-53 with just over nine minutes to play. A pair of threes by Daniel Mataya and Michael Cantu handed the lead back to Southwestern.
With 1:22 remaining on the clock the game was deadlocked 70-70 after Travis Kurtz drained all three free throws after being fouled beyond the arc. A jumper and two free throws was enough to give Chicago the win as Southwestern wasn't able to get the ball to fall.
Southwestern shot 55.6% from the floor and had three more made field goals then Chicago, but the difference came from the charity stripe as Chicago went 23-31 while SU was 13-21.
Michael Cantu led the scoring for the Pirates with 18 points while Kocher and Kurtz each added in 11. UC's Jordan Smith led all scorers with 21 points.
Southwestern starts out the year at 0-1 and return to action on Sunday to face Washington (Mo.) at 2 p.m.