Carnegie Mellon moves to 6–0 on Maurer buzzerbeater
Coming into Saturday night’s showdown with the 12th-ranked Rochester Yellowjackets, the Carnegie Mellon men’s basketball team was 5–0 and off to its best start in school history. Still, the consensus of the team was that they would not know how good they really were until they began conference play, and took the floor against some of the nation’s top-flight programs.
Thanks to a heroic effort from senior forward Nate Maurer, including the game-winning shot in the team’s 72–71 buzzer-beating road victory, there is now no denying that the Tartans are one of the nation’s elite teams.
In front of a rowdy Rochester crowd, Maurer dominated the entire game, scoring a career-high 41 points. None, though, were more important than his final shot.
With 15 seconds left and the Tartans down by one, coach Tony Wingen called timeout and designed a play for his star forward to take the final shot. After a difficult inbounds, Maurer caught the ball on the wing, and with 2.2 seconds left, drove for the game-winning lay-up.
“It was about time I stepped up,” said Maurer. “I hadn’t been playing well the last few games. My shot didn’t even feel that good in the second half, but luckily they were falling for me.”
The Tartans got off to a slow start in the game and trailed 39–26 going into the half. But that was when Maurer found his footing. After scoring just 10 points in the first half, Maurer came out firing, hitting 10 of 15 shots in the second half, including six of seven from three-point range. He finished with seven three-
pointers and scored the final 16 points for the Tartans.
Co-captains Clayton Barlow-Wilcox and A.J. Straub also had solid nights in supporting roles. Barlow-Wilcox chipped in 16 points and five steals in 33 minutes, and Straub posted five points and four rebounds. All 72 of the Tartans’ points came from their starters.
The star of the night, though, was unquestionably Maurer, and even some of his teammates were left dumbstruck by his feat. “It was one of the most unbelievable individual performances I’ve ever seen, especially in the second half since he scored 31 points,” said Barlow-Wilcox.
Saturday’s game was the Tartans’ fourth game in one week. They defeated La Roche College last Tuesday and won the annual Radisson/Carnegie Mellon Tournament over Thanksgiving break.
At 6–0, the Tartans will try to continue their undefeated run against Lycoming College Tuesday night in Skibo. The Tartans then play Skidmore and Union College, two other national powerhouses.
Still, if the Rochester win proved anything, it was that this team can compete with anyone in the country, including even December 28’s date with the Division I Princeton Tigers.