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Men’s B-ball splits two in the Midwest

By zaronow

Section: Sports

February 29, 2008

022908051.jpgThe Brandeis Men’s Basketball team saw its UAA title hopes built up like a castle made of sand; those hopes were dashed down into the sea over the weekend, capped by defeat at Chicago, 74-66.

“We had some wide open shots,” Brandeis Head Coach Brian Meehan stated. “We had some difficulty with the officiating and then late in the game, we just missed a lot of open shots we typically would hit.”

It was a battle of the runs through out the 40 minute match; the Judges went on a 16-2 run early in the game to take a nine point lead. Chicago responded however with a 17-6 run of its own to claim a two point lead; both sides then traded baskets until the first half closed with Brandeis up 39-36.

The second half followed on a similar track, with Brandeis keeping ahead of the Maroons; the Judges had a 58-53 lead with just under ten minutes left. Chicago, however, claimed its first lead of the half with a three pointer by Nate Hainje. Joe Coppens ’08 reclaimed the lead with a three of his own, but it proved to be the Judges’ final appeal as Chicago took the lead for good, scoring on their sixth opportunity of the possession and eventually walked away with the victory.

Joe Coppens ’08 and Kevin Olson ’09 both had uncharacteristically poor games, particularly from long range, as they were a combined 3 of 16 in their three point attempts. Olson picked up seven points on 3 of 14 shooting, while Coppens was little better with eight points on a 3 of 10 performance from the floor. The second half was particularly cruel to the Judges’ shooters, Coppens’ go-ahead three the only one made out of seven attempts as Brandeis shot 32 percent in the second half and 40 percent for the game.

While the guards struggled, the forwards picked up the pace for the Judges with Stephen Hill scoring a career high 21 points on 9 of 11 shooting and also pulled down seven rebounds. Terrell Hollins ’10 had 18 points and a game high nine rebounds.

“At this point of the season, the key is getting the inside and outside games together on the same day. You want to be peaking coming into this point,” Coach Meehan explained.

Four Chicago players reached double-digits with Nate Hainje leading all scorers with 24 points on 8 of 15 shooting. He also led the team with six rebounds. Matt Corning had 18 points for the day, Adam Machones had 11 points and Jake Pancratz had 10 points and five rebounds. The Maroons shot 44 percent for the game and made the most of their free throws with 14 made in 19 trips in the second half alone.

The weekend road swing started in Brandeis’s favor with a 68-66 thriller over the Washington University Bears.

The Judges used an 11-4 run to climb back from a seven point second half deficit to tie the game up at 53. Stephen Hill’s putback at the 5:14 mark gave Brandeis their first lead since the first half and Andre Roberson’s ’10 three pointer put the Judges ahead for good.

Joe Coppens led the way Friday with 17 points on 6-13 shooting, Kevin Olson and Andre Roberson each had 13 points. Guard Ross Kelley led the Bears with 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting. Tyler Nading and Troy Ruths each had 13 points and Aaron Thompson rounded out the double digit scorers with 11. Brandeis shot 54.5 percent in the second half including 7 of 9 three pointers and dominated the glass, pulling down 33 rebounds to Washington’s 21.

“It was an important game for us on the road,” Coach Meehan said. “We’ve had a lot of really significant wins over the years, but most have been at home and we talked about it as a team, trying to get a significant road win. That was like a tournament game for us.”

The loss to Chicago eliminates Brandeis from UAA title convention, but they remain in the top 25 polls and look to improve their tournament position tomorrow as they close out the regular season against New York University at 3 p.m.

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