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Men’s basketball slumps on the road

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

February 11, 2011

During the last few days, the Brandeis men’s basketball team has been busy. After the upset to Rochester at home almost two weeks ago, the team traveled to Emory and Rochester for rematches, followed by a game against top-25 ranked Amherst College.

On Tuesday the Brandeis men’s basketball team fell into a deep hole early and was unable to climb out as they lost their fourth straight to number-three ranked Amherst, 79-65, in non-conference action on Tuesday night.

Amherst opened the game with an 18-3 run and never surrendered the lead. Amherst led by as much as 21 points in the second half; however, Brandeis was able to cut the lead to eight points with just a little less than four minutes to go in the second half. Unfortunately, Amherst proceeded to put the game away.

Brandeis opened the game by missing its first six shots and committing three turnovers in the first four minutes, allowing Amherst to open with a 9-0 lead. Brandeis guard Tyrone Hughes ’12 put the Judges on the board with a three-pointer, but Amherst went on another 9-0 run to reach an 18-3 lead. Brandeis hit only three shots in the first 10 minutes of the game, enabling Amherst to lead by double digits for the final 13:50 minutes of the first half. Brandeis center Youri Dascy ’14 hit a layup as time expired in the first half to cut the Amherst lead to 40-24.

In the first half, Brandeis shot 31 percent from the floor (9-of-29), while Amherst shot 46.4 percent from the floor including 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Brandeis went on to outscore Amherst 41-39 in the second half.

The Judges opened the second half hot, with back-to-back three-pointers by guard Ben Bartoldus ’14 and forward Alex Schmidt ’14, going on a 12-2 run to cut the Amherst lead to 55-45 with 12:55 to play in the game. Brandeis was unable to cut the lead to single digits, until Hughes hit a three-pointer with 4:09 to play, making it a 72-63 game. Dascy hit a layup on the next possession and cut the lead to seven, but Amherst scored the next four points pushing their lead back to 11 with 2:10 to play to put the game practically out of reach.

Allen Williamson and Conor Meehan combined for 38 points and 10 rebounds for Amherst, who earned their first regular season victory against the Judges time since the 2006-2007 season.

Bartoldus led the Judges with 12 points, while Schmidt finished with 11 points. Christian Yemga ’11 had six points, led the team with nine rebounds and had three assists.

A few days earlier on Feb. 6, despite 17 points from guard Bartoldus and eight assists from guard Hughes, Brandeis fell once again to the University of Rochester, 77-57.

Rochester was led by the hot shooting of sophomore John DiBartolomeo, who exploded with 23 points in the second half after scoring just three points in the first half. In the second half, DiBartolomeo hit 6-of-7 from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and 6-of-6 from the line. He also led Rochester with seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Rochester had three other starters in double figures. Senior Mike Labanowski scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, rookie Nate Vernon added 11 points and sophomore Rob Reid contributed 10 points.

Brandeis was paced by Bartoldus who scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half. He was 7-of-8 shooting, 2-of-3 from downtown, another term for three-pointer, and 1-of-1 from the line only missing a single shot in the game. Other than Bartoldus, Dascy was the only player to score more than two baskets, finishing the day with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting and 2-of-2 from the three-point line.

Despite a fiercely contested first half that featured three ties and nine lead changes, Rochester seized control in the second half with red-hot shooting. While the Judges shot 59.1 percent (13-22) and held Rochester to 50 percent shooting (13-26) in the first half, they still closed the half trailing Rochester 35-33. Rochester connected on 63.6 percent (14-22) in the second half as Brandeis cooled to an undesirable 32.1 percent (9-28).

With Rochester shooting 56.3 percent overall for the game, Brandeis has now allowed four of their last five opponents to shoot more than 50 percent after holding opponents to below 45 percent shooting in their first 14 games this year.

Last Friday, Feb. 4, Brandeis fell to Emory 85-70. Emory returned with a vengeance after falling to Brandeis almost two weeks ago in overtime.

The first half featured five ties and seven lead changes in what started out as a very tight game. After Dascy hit the game’s first points, Emory’s Michael Friedberg responded by connecting from beyond the arc to give Emory a three-two lead. The Eagles maintained the lead throughout the half, but Brandeis held Emory from being able to push it beyond five. Emory took a 33-31 lead into the half led by 11 points by Friedberg.

To start the second half, Bartoldus scored to tie up the game at 33-33. Emory’s Alex Greven responded with a three-point play at the other end to take back the lead. Emory maintained the lead for the rest of the game.

Dascy cut the Emory lead to 40-38 with 17:13 left in the game; however, Emory went on a 15-6 run in the next four minutes, during which they connected on 6-of-7 shots including three-pointers on three straight possessions, to stretch their lead to 55-44.

Brandeis was able to cut the lead to nine points a few times afterwards, but Emory opened a 13-4 run to stretch their lead to 20 points with 4:32 remaining in the game. The Judges went on a mini-run of their own to cut the lead to 12, but it was too little, too late.

Dascy led Brandeis with 18 points (7-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 from the line) and had five rebounds. Hughes contributed 13 points, with nine coming in the second half, while Yemga scored nine of his 11 points in the second half.

No Brandeis player had more than two assists as the Judges matched their season-low with only seven assists in the game. Dascy and rookie Alex Stoyle each blocked three shots setting a season-high six blocked shots for the Judges. This was the first loss for the Judges where they went to the free throw line more than their opponents. Brandeis enjoyed a 26-19 edge at the line.

Brandeis, now 3-6 in the UAA and 13-7 overall, will next play when they host Carnegie Mellon Friday at 8 p.m. At the same time, Emory will host Washington (Miss.) while Rochester plans to host University of Chicago.

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