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Men’s b-ball climbs out of hole

By zaronow

Section: Sports

December 5, 2008

B-BALL: Brandeis Forward Terrell Hollins ‘10 (No. 33, center) wrestles the ball away from Rhode Island College’s Kaseem Johnson (No. 2, right) ‘09, during the first half of their game thursday night.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

B-BALL: Brandeis Forward Terrell Hollins ‘10 (No. 33, center) wrestles the ball away from Rhode Island College’s Kaseem Johnson (No. 2, right) ‘09, during the first half of their game thursday night.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

Brandeis men’s basketball experienced as disastrous start to the season, dropping their first three games and plummeted out of the d3hoops Top 25 poll after opening in the top ten. With that in mind however, the Judges regained their grasp of the season with a victory over 25th ranked Rhode Island College 75-61 to bring them back to .500. After quickly trading leads early in the game, Brandeis went on a 12-2 run to build up a nine point lead. The Anchorman however rallied to cut the deficit to one thanks to a three pointer from Kaseem Johnson. The Judges though embarked on a 15-3 scoring break and through out the rest of the game, never saw their lead fall below double-digits in their season equalizing win.

Terrell Hollins ’10 led the scoring with 18 points along with a career high 16 rebounds – 10 in the second half alone and seven assists. Steve DeLuca GRAD followed up with 17 points and nine rebounds and Andre Roberson ’10 had 14 points and six assists. Christian Yemga ’11 chipped in with eight points and ten rebounds. Tirrell Hill led the scoring for Rhode Island College with 11 while teammates Mason Choice and Kaseem Johnson each had 10.

Brandeis’ defense held the Anchormen to 31 percent shooting on the day and out-muscled them for the rebounds by a 44-33 margin.

“We lost our two scrimmages in the beginning of the year, things weren’t going well.” Terrell Hollins said after the game. “We didn’t know – they thought they wanted to bring me off the bench. That changed, we went to a bigger line up, now we’re clicking. We’re going inside more with me and DeLuca more inside and opening up the shooters for the second half and then – just getting DeLuca back is key, he’s a tremendous inside and outside player. Just getting him back in shape and just ready to play I mean he sat out a whole year so that’s tough and the transition of him coming back to the team is definitely helping us now and as the season goes on, we’ll be a lot more tough – tougher.”

Men’s B-Ball: Brandeis Guard Andre Roberson ‘10 (No. 1, left) goes up for a layup in the second half of Brandeis’ win, thursday night. Roberson ended the game with 14 points.<br /><i>PHOTOS BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

Men’s B-Ball: Brandeis Guard Andre Roberson ‘10 (No. 1, left) goes up for a layup in the second half of Brandeis’ win, thursday night. Roberson ended the game with 14 points.
PHOTOS BY Max Shay/The Hoot

“Our team is clicking,” DeLuca explained in an email Wednesday, “and we are getting what we need to do offensively and defensively. It took us a little longer to get things going than years past and with our difficult schedule, it resulted in some bad losses.”

The Judges picked up their second straight win at Babson Tuesday night as four starters, led by DeLuca reached double digits in scoring to cement the 70-60 win. Both squads traded leads early in the first half until a three pointer by Babson’s Matt Florlo gave the Beavers a four-point lead. The Judges responded with an 11-0 run fueled by DeLuca and Kevin Olson ’09 to go up by seven. Babson however clawed their way back to cut the deficit to three at the half. Babson gained the momentum early in the second half, tying the score with 17:28 left in the game and then took the lead after a three pointer from Shelton Ladson two minutes later. Brandeis though promptly took away the momentum, going on a 16-0 run over the next four and a half minutes to take the 48-35 lead. Babson would come as close as six points but Andre Roberson ’10 made six consecutive free throws and Brandeis left with the “W”.

‘The victories over Tufts and Babson are definitely signs of the season turning around.” Steve DeLuca explained, “We are playing much differently than our first 3 games. Our offense is much crisper and the defense is stepping up as well.

DeLuca led the way with a complete performance: 24 points on 11-15 shooting, 8 rebounds – both team highs along with 5 assists and 2 steals. Roberson was a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line, overcoming a rocky 2-9 shooting from the field to finish with 15 points and a team leading 7 assists. Kevin Olson and Terrell Hollins ’10 each had 10 points on the night. Ladson led Babson with 19 points on 5-7 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Teammate Zach Etten also converted 5 three pointers to finish with 17. Brandeis shot the lights out, converting 56.5 percent of their shot attempts in the game including a scintillating 61.9 percent in the first half. The Judges also made their second chances count, outscoring the Beavers 17-2 in second half points.

The budding streak comes after dropping their November 25 home opener to Mass-Dartmouth 62-68 thanks in large part to 23 Judges turnovers and converting a paltry four three throws out 13 first half attempts. However the Judges emerged a team anew against Tufts at home on November 30 as the duo of Hollins and DeLuca both had dominating performances in the 80-56 rout.

The Jumbos came out tough in the opening minutes, but after a jumper from Matt Galvin put Tufts up by one with around 13 minutes left in the first half, the Judges promptly took the lead back on two free throws from Andre Roberson ’10 and never looked back. Up by 10 after the first half, Brandeis locked down on Tufts, holding them to 22.6 percent in field goal attempts (7-31) in the second half while keeping up the scoring needed to earn their first win of the season.

Terrell Hollins had his sixth double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Steve DeLuca matched Hollins’ 19 points but was two rebounds shy of having his own double-double. DeLuca was also deadly from long range, converting 3 of 4 attempts from the three-point line. Kenny Small ’10 provided 11 points off the bench. Jon Pierce and Aaron Gallant led the losing effort for Tufts with 13 points each. Brandeis dominated the paint throughout the game, out-rebounding Tufts 42-32 and doubled them up on points in the paint 42-32. The Judges also made the Jumbos pay for their mistakes, converting 12 turnovers into 13 points while only surrendering 3 points off their own 10 giveaways.

“It’s good” Hollins said about the chemistry he has with DeLuca. “We compliment each other really well. I just remember my third or fourth game against Tufts one day in my freshman year. We both had 21 points and that’s like when we found out we could both play together. At first they wouldn’t play us usually together then we found our way. And then we found certain plays we can run where both of us can get the ball where we like it and also feed other players off the team. Having him out there, you can’t double team him because that leaves somebody open and we have tremendous shooters, especially if Kenny’s in the game or Kev’s (Olson) in the corner, I mean you can’t really leave our shooters and Andre is such a good penetrater and Christian’s a pretty good passer too so I feel like you have to play us single or one on one.”

The victory against Rhode Island College gives the Judges a chance to have their first winning record of the season they take to the road December 6 for a 1 pm date at Emerson before returning home to wrap up the 2008 year hosting Clark on December 9 at 7 pm and Framingham State on December 13 at 1 pm.

A start to forget indeed but as the phoenix is born anew from the ashes of its own pyre, so too could the Judges re-emerge as the force that people took them to be.

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