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Men’s basketball on a roll, wins four of five games in the New Year

By Hannah Vickers

Section: Sports

January 22, 2010

Ballin’: Kenney Small ‘10 gets past the Lasell defense in the season opener to take one to the hole last season.

Ballin’: Kenney Small ‘10 gets past the Lasell defense in the season opener to take one to the hole last season.

The Brandeis men’s basketball team has been earning their national ranking with their continued success during the break. The Judges, currently ranked 15th in the nation by D3hoops.com, is 11-2 overall, 2-1 in conference play, and undefeated at home.

They opened up the New Year with a 74-69 win on the road against the Curry College Colonels. Guard Vytas Kriskus ’12 who put up a career-high 26 points in 25 minutes off the bench led the offense.

The Colonels and Judges battled back and forth in the opening half, trading off single digit leads until there was just 6:52 remaining. At that point Terrell Hollins ’10 tied the game and then took the lead off two foul shots before tacking on another two points off a jump shot less than a minute later. From that point forward Brandeis just added to their lead, eventually taking a 46-34 advantage going into the break.

In the first five minutes of the second stanza the Judges continued to tack on the points and at one point led by as much as 18 after Kriskus nailed a three-pointer at 15:44. The home team fought back to stay in the game, and with 2:06 left on the clock finally broke down the Brandeis lead to just eight points. The Colonels ended the final two minutes of play with a 9-4 run but were only able to come within five of the Judges. Hollins was the only other Brandeis player with double figures, putting up 12 points, but led with 11 rebounds.

Brandeis moved on to open up University Athletic Association play on Jan. 9 against the New York University Violets in New York and suffered their second loss of the season in a tight 62-50 game. The shooting just wasn’t there for Brandeis, with the team making just 15-of-61 from the field and 4-of-27 in three-point range.

Hollins led the Brandeis offense with 14 points, connecting on six-of-eight from the field. Classmate Kenny Small also reached double-digits with 12 points in the game, connecting on 6-of-7 from the line but only making 2-of-15 from the field. Kriskus, who played such a vital role in their previous victory, was only able to hit four of 12 attempts for nine points on the day.

After the disappointing loss earlier in the week, the Judges came back fighting at home and took down the Bates College Bobcats 81-57. Bates took an early lead over their hosts, jumping up by as much as ten-points with five minutes left in the half.

From that point on, though, the Judges turned on their offense. With just under two minutes remaining before the break, Hollins nailed two foul shots to tie the game and take the lead. Thanks to a trifecta by guard Tyrone Hughes ’12, Brandeis had a four-point lead going into the second half.

The Judges extended their run into the second half, going 29-4. The second half was like a completely different game. Brandeis dominated the court and pushed up the score until they were leading by 25 and 26 at multiple points.

Kriskus led the Judges with 19 points off the bench, followed closely by Small and Hughes who contributed 16 points each, a career-high for Hughes. Guard Andre Roberson ’10 finished out the double-digit scorers by adding ten points.

Brandeis continued their winning streak in an exciting overtime victory on Jan. 15. Winning in overtime is great, but taking down the third ranked team in the country and two-time defending NCAA champions Washington University of St. Louis Bears is even better.

The Bears led by as much as six points in the first half before losing some momentum. With less than ten minutes left before the break, the Judges went on a 14-1 run to gain a 28-19 lead with 5:11 on the clock. WashU finally managed to get back on the board with less than two minutes remaining in the half but were only able to bring the game within four before halftime.

The Judges opened up the second half leading their hosts 30-26 and a jumper by Roberson followed by a three-pointer by Hughes quickly brought it to 35-28. Brandeis would not give up their hard earned lead and held the Bears at bay. The game was tied at 43 with 12:33 left to play but Roberson answered back with a foul shot and another jump shot to give the Judges a three-point lead.

With 8:09 remaining on the clock the Bears tied it up again at 46 off a foul shot. The Judges were not able to crack through for over four minutes until Kriskus nailed a trifecta at 3:59 to regain a narrow lead.

A WashU layup with 12 seconds left tied the game at 49 apiece, though, and forced both squads into overtime.

It did not take long for Roberson to take back the lead, making two foul shots at 4:10 to bring the game to 51-49 in favor of Brandeis.

The Bears refused to be silenced and continued the nail biter by tying the game at 53 each with just under a minute and a half left. Hughes went to the line with 32 seconds remaining and came up big for the Judges, nabbing a 55-53 lead.

Forward Rich Magee ’10 followed suit and hit the eventual game winner from the line with eight seconds remaining, bringing the game to 57-53. WashU scored their final basket with three seconds on the clock to bring it within two, but forward Christian Yemga ’11 hit one from the line with one second left to make the final score 58-55.

After the excitement in St. Louis, the Judges continued their streak by taking down the Chicago University Maroons just two days later. The teams traded leads in the first five minutes of play before Brandeis settled in for the remainder of the first half, leading by as much as nine and as little as one. They owned a 36-32 lead going into halftime.

The Maroons came out of the locker rooms ready to take back the lead and accomplished exactly that. The hosts tied it up just thirty seconds into the second half and took the lead a second later off a foul shot. The Judges did not let them get comfortable and tied it up before regaining the lead just over half a minute later, pulling ahead 28-27.

Chicago stayed with it and tied the match up again at 17:36 with 41 apiece. They managed to hold on to as much as a three-point lead over their nationally ranked opponents for the next four and a half minutes before the Brandeis answered with a 14-4 run in just over 4:31. The Judges took a one-point lead at 13:03 and would stay ahead from that point forward.

With 6:48 left on the clock Brandeis took a double-digit lead off a layup by Hollins and led by as much as 12 with 3:25 remaining off a foul shot by Roberson. The Maroons made an 8-2 run in the last minute of play, but were unable to pass the Judges. Brandeis finished the game with a six-point lead, wining 75-69 over their UAA opponent.

The Judges will play their home UAA opener against the Rochester University Yellowjackets at 8 p.m. this Friday night. The UAA play continues this weekend when Brandeis will host Emory University at noon on Sunday.

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