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Judges get back to their winning ways

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

February 18, 2011

Brandeis men’s basketball snapped its four-game losing streak during the weekend with a pair of victories against Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon. Both teams overcame Brandeis when the Judges visited them in January, but the Judges showed them who was boss in the Judges’ house.

First, on Friday, the Judges defeated Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) 80-63. Brandeis had its best regulation scoring night (30-52, 57.7 percent) since November in the victory. Four players reached double digits in points for the Judges. Anthony Trapasso ’13 and Youri Dascy ’14 each led the team with a game-high 16 points. Ben Bartoldus ’14 added 14 points, with nine coming in the first half. Derek Retos ’14 scored 10 of his 13 bench points in the second half, when he connected on 3-of-6 from downtown. Christian Yemga ’11 packed the stat sheet with nine points, six rebounds, five assists and a career-best four blocked shots.

CMU had three players in double figures. Senior Matthew Petit had 14 points hitting 6-of-12 from the field along with a pair of free throws with eight of his points coming in the first half. Senior Shane Rife had 10 first-half points and finished with 13 for the game, and rookie Rashaun Riley had 12 points.

Brandeis jumped out to a quick lead as Dascy scored the game’s first two buckets and the Judges’ first six points overall as they took a 6-3 lead less than two minutes into the game. Brandeis maintained a 3-to-2 possession lead for the majority of the first half. A pair of Riley free throws got CMU within five points with 8:04 remaining in the first half at 20-15, but the Judges held CMU to just two field goals for the rest of the half. The Judges shot 60 percent in the first half both overall (18-30) and from beyond the arc (6-10), while holding CMU to just 26.7 percent (8-30) overall and 25 percent from downtown (3-12).

In the second half, the Judges’ lead never fell below double digits. CMU was able to close within 10 points at 60-50 with 9:04 left in the game, but Retos answered with a four-point play to put the Judges up by 14. The Judges would cruise to an 80-63 victory from then on.

On Sunday, the Judges continued to dominate as they hosted the Case Western Reserve Spartans. The Judges closed out their home season with a nail-biting come-from-behind 55-53 victory on Sunday, Feb. 13.

In a poorly played first half, there were four ties and eight lead changes. To start the game, both teams combined to hit just 3-of-21 from the field. Neither team was able to establish an edge in the first half, with the largest being a four-point edge for Case Western in the last four minutes of the half.

Case sophomore Austin Fowler hit the last four points of the half giving Case Western a 26-23 lead going into halftime. Fowler and junior Tom Summers together scored 20 of the team’s 26 first-half points.

The Judges owned a 22-17 advantage on the boards in the first half, but the Spartans enjoyed an 11-5 edge at the line.

Brandeis tied the game at 27-27 just more than 90 seconds into the second half, however, Case went on to start their key run. Case scored the next eight points during the next 3:11, giving Case a 35-27 lead with 15:16 remaining to play. Brandeis sophomore Jay Freeman connected on a layup, but Summers responded with a three-point play for Case stretching their lead to 38-29 with 13:28 remaining to play.

At this point, the Judges staged their comeback. They scored the next six points of the game, making it a one-possession game at 40-37 after two free throws from Freeman; however, Fowler hit a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to slow the Judges momentum. A free throw by Brandeis’ Yemga and a three-pointer by Alex Stoyle ’14 got the Judges within two points at 43-41 with 8:06 left in the game.

During the next six minutes, the Judges failed to capitalize on their opportunities to tie or take the lead and allowed Case to cling to their small lead. The Judges defense, however, held Case to just one field goal during the last 3:23 of the game enabling Brandeis to come back.

After Summers connected on a layup to give Case a 51-47 lead with 2:45 remaining, Tyrone Hughes ’12 came off a screen to knock down a 15-foot jumper to pull the Judges within two. On the ensuing possession, Freeman stole the ball from the Spartans and connected on a layup to knot the game at 51-51.

Both Brandeis and Case converted both of their free throws on their trips to the line resulting in another tie at 53-53 with 33.2 seconds left in the game.

On the ensuing inbounds play, Case fumbled the ball out of bounds giving possession back to Brandeis. Brandeis worked the ball around the perimeter to drain some clock before dishing it to Dascy who drew a foul with 8.1 seconds left. Dascy connected on 1-of-2 from the line, which would prove to be the deciding point.

Case got off a good look at a three-pointer on their next possession but were unable to convert as Stoyle grabbed the rebound for Brandeis and hit a free throw from the line to close out the game.

The men’s basketball team rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to earn their fifth win of the season by three points or less with a 55-53 victory against Case Western Reserve. With the win, Brandeis improved to 15-7 (5-6 University Athletic Association (UAA)) while Case Western fell to 8-14 (4-7 UAA).

Brandeis’ bench was a primary reason for the victory by outscoring Case’s bench 29-8. Dascy led the team with 11 points on 2-of-6 shooting and 7-of-9 from the line while Freeman finished with a career high 10, hitting 3-of-5 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line. The Judges finished the game with a 41-30 edge on the boards thanks to a career-best 11 rebounds by Yemga in his final home game.

For Case, Fowler finished with 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting including 2-of-4 from downtown and 8-of-8 from the line. Summers added 17 points on 7-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-6 from the line.

The Judges will close their season away during the February break. Friday night the University of Chicago will host them followed by a quick trip to Washington University (Miss.). The Judges’ season finale will be Saturday, Feb. 26 at NYU.

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