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Men’s basketball splits the week 2-2

By Hannah Vickers

Section: Sports

February 26, 2010

GUARDING THE BALL: Brandeis guard Tyrone Hughes (No. 11, left) defends against an Amherst offender earlier this year.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

With the NCAA tournament bracket announcements this coming Monday, the Brandeis men’s basketball team is feeling the pressure.  They have split their last two weekends to bring them to 18-6 overall and 8-5 in the University Athletic Association and have just one game remaining in the regular season.

The Judges opened up play over February break when they hosted the Washington University of St. Louis Bears on Friday the 12th.  At the time the Judges were ranked 21st in the nation by d3hoops.com while WashU was in 3rd, but since then the Bears have moved up to become the top ranked team in division III basketball.

Despite a strong start for the Judges, who opened the game with a 14-8 run in the first five minutes, WashU could not be silenced for long.  The Bears went on a run of their own, going 12-2 in just under four minutes to take a 20-16 lead.  Brandeis kept things tight over the next few minutes but by the break the visiting Bears commanded a 44-32 lead over the Judges.

The Bears and Judges traded baskets for most of the second half and with 12:25 remaining on the clock, a jumper from guard Andre Roberson ’10 brought Brandeis within four points, a 57-53 game in favor of WashU.  The visitors responded with six foul shots and a three to give them a 13-point lead yet again.

Brandeis turned on the heat in the final ten minutes and a layup by forward Vytas Kriskus ’12 with four and a half left to play took the Judges within five. Again, though, WashU was able to hold on and fight back. In the final minutes they tacked on a few more foul shots to give them their final 92-92 victory over Brandeis.

WashU had four players reach double digits, including Aaron Thompson ’10 who had a game-high 29 points.

The Judges also had four scorers in double figures. Forward Terrell Hollins ’10 had ten points in each half and a game-high eight rebounds. His single assist in the game marked the 200th of his career, making him the fhird player in school history to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 200 assists in his career. Classmate guard Kenny Small put up 17 points and three steals while Kriskus had 15 points off the bench. Roberson had 10 points and tied for a game-high seven assists.

After the loss on Friday night Brandeis took out the University of Chicago Maroons on Sunday afternoon 83-71.  The match up started with both teams trading baskets and leads over the first ten minutes until a jumper from Roberson gave the Judges the lead for good. Brandeis continued to add to their lead for the rest of the half and eventually went into the lockers with a 41-31 advantage over the Maroons.

Chicago came out ready to fight for control and went on an 11-5 run in less than six minutes to close the game to 46-42, trailing by just four points. The Judges responded by regaining an eight-point lead and held off the Maroons for the remainder of the game.

Kriskus led Brandeis with 20 points in 26 minutes off the bench while classmate Tyrone Hughes and Small put up 14 points and three assists. Hollins added 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for his eigth double-double in nine games. Roberson rounded out the double-digit scroeres with 10 points and six rebounds.

Brandeis kept the momentum going when they hit the road this past weekend to face off against the Univresity of Rochester Yellowjackets on Friday night. Thanks to a game-high 25 oints from Small and a season-high shooting percentage of 63 (35-56) from the floor, the Judges completed their season sweep of the Yellojackets with an 87-70 victory. This was just the second time in history the judges have swept Rochester, the first time came in the 1994-5 season.

The win did not come easy, though. In the beginning of the game Brandeis was down 22-14 9:30 into play. They would not sit by and take that for long. The Judges seemed to snap into action at that poin, going on a 14-2 run to give them a 28-24 lead. Rochester answered back with a run of their own, jumping back up to a slim 33-32 lead before Brandeis went on another run, grabbing a 42-36 advantage with just over 1:30 remaining before the break. They went into halftime with just a 42-40 lead.

After trading threes for the first two baskets of the second half, the Judges took the lead and never looked back. Even though Rochester was able to climb within three points a few times, Brandeis opened it up with a 16-2 run over five minutes to take a 20 point lead. In the final minutes of play the Yellowjackets fought to get baskets, but even with six free throws, they finished the game 17 points behind the visiting Judges.

In addition to Small’s huge 25-points, Brandeis had three other players in double figures. Kriskus went for 17 points off the bench while Hollins added 16 and tied the game-high with eight rebounds and five assists. Roberson put up 11 points and five assists.

Their final road game of the season on Sunday was a bit more frustrating for the Judges. Play was very evenly matched between the Judges and the Emory University Eagles with four ties in the first half. The two teams traded baskests with neither the Judges nor the Eagles allowing their opponent to get too far ahead. The final tie of the half came with just four seconds remaining off a foul shot by Roberson which brought the game to 29-29 at the break.

The Judges opened things up with a 9-2 run over the first few minutes to take a 38-31 lead over their hosts. The Eagles were right there with them, though, and were able to tie things up at 39 apiece with 13:14 remaining. Kriskus nailed one to give the Judges a two point lead before back-to-back baskets by the Eagles game them the lead with 9:44 left to play.

The next minutes were a near free-for-all with both teams tacking on the points until the judges held a 62-57 lead with 2:19 on the clock. The Eagles made all four foul shot attempts in the final minute of play to bring the game within one. With 14 seconds left, Small missed an attempted three and Emory got the rebound. The game winning shot went into the basket with just seven seconds remaining, giving Emory a 64-63 lead.

Despite the loss Hollins managed to put up a game-high 16 points and 19 rebounds. Small added up 12 points while Kriskus had 11 off the bench. Guard John Weldon ’10 had a career-high eight points.

Brandeis will play their final game of the regular season, Senior Day, on Satruday at 3 p.m. against UAA rival the New York University Violets. The Judges have five seniors who will be graduating in May: Small, Hollins, Roberson, Weldon, and Rich Magee. Team Manager Gabe Marwell will also be walking in May. The Judges ask fans to come out and support the team as they fight for a spot in the NCAA tournament.

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