Kelly Weese // Sports Editor
The visiting Morton College Panthers proved to be too tough for the Chaps. The game began with a rough start. Early fouls and turnovers hindered the Chaps on offense and defense. Although DuPage clearly had the size advantage over Morton, the Panthers out-rebounded the Chaps in the first half. Going into the break, Morton had a 41-28 lead.
The Chaps came out of the locker room determined to stay in the game. The Panthers kept a 10-point lead for most of the contest, until a comeback slowly began with the Chaps lowering the deficit to eight with seven minutes remaining.
Chaps guard, Melvin Meeks, nailed a 3-pointer to give DuPage its first lead of the night with four minutes left. After a quick score by Morton the game was tied 62-62.
What seemed like an amazing comeback by the Chaps turned disappointment, as a 10-0 run by Morton bitterly ended the game. The 72-62 loss makes the Chaps record 1-4.
Coming off the bench, guard Ira Crawford led DuPage in scoring with 25 points. Crawford was also a force grabbing rebounds for COD.
When asked about his performance, Crawford said, “we were 1-3 coming into the game, everyone else is starting the season real good and we are starting terrible.” Going forward, the Chaps next home game is on Saturday. “We need to play together and improve our defense because our defense is far from phenomenal right now.”
When the Chaps came out of the locker room at halftime, they looked like a different team. “I told them that we needed to rebound and keep (Morton) out of the paint,” coach Reed said.
Reed’s halftime speech got the attention of the team. They stepped up their defense and also improved their rebounding in the second half. “We changed our defense because our man-to-man wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be.”
The Chaps are taking steps towards getting back on the right track. With three months of basketball remaining, they have time to recover and bounce back before playoffs begin.