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Men’s basketball claims ECAC title with win against Eastern Connecticut

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports, Top Stories

March 11, 2011

The sixth-seeded Brandeis Judges beat the top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University on the road, 65-50, to claim their third ECAC Division III New England title in program history. The current squad joined the 1974 and 1992 teams with ECAC titles and finished the season with a 19-9 record. Ben Bartoldus ’14 was named the tournament MVP.

Brandeis only trailed once in the game when Eastern Connecticut senior Broderick Sawyer scored the first points of the contest on a hook shot. Brandeis went on to score the next 10 points, with four different players scoring during the run. Youri Dascy ’14 capped off the run with a pair of lay-ups to give the Judges a 10-2 lead just 3:30 into the game.

The Judges’ offense proceeded to go on a cold streak allowing Eastern Connecticut to go on a 10-3 run during the next seven minutes. Similar to Brandeis’ run, four different players were involved in Eastern Connecticut’s run. Sophomore Chris Robitaille had a chance to tie the game for ECSU at the free throw line; however, he split the pair as ECSU pulled within one.

Brandeis responded with a three-pointer by guard Derek Retos ’14 that sparked a 9-2 Judges run giving them a 22-14 lead with 6:07 to go in the first half. The Judges’ defense locked down in the final minutes of the first half, holding ECSU to just two field goals over the last six minutes. ECSU did not do itself any favors, missing four free throws in the same period. Brandeis led by as many as 12 points in the first half as they took a 10-point lead into the locker room.

In the first half, the Judges shot 52.4 percent (11-21) from the field and 87.5 percent from the line (7-8), while ECSU shot 38.1 percent (8-21) and 45.5 percent (5-11) from the line.

The Judges began the second half in an offensive slump, flat from their comeback semifinal victory against MCLA the previous evening, allowing ECSU to score six of the first nine points of the second half with tight defense and good ball movement. Just 2:15 into the second half, ECSU had cut the Brandeis lead to seven at 35-28. The Judges bounced back from their poor start out of half, scoring the next six points to establish an 11-point lead on a three-pointer from Anthony Trapasso ’13. Brandeis never let its lead get any lower than nine points for the rest of the game.

Trapasso sparked the Judges in the second half, scoring all of his game-high 12 points hitting 4-of-5 overall, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and connecting on his only free throw. Retos finished with 10 points, scoring five in each half and was the only other Judges’ player to score in double figures. Christian Yemga ’11, Tyrone Hughes ’12 and Bartoldus each contributed eight points and Vytas Kriskus ’12 had a solid game off the bench with seven points, a game-high of six rebounds and two steals. Hughes led the Judges with four assists. Brandeis won the battle of the boards outrebounding ECSU 29-23 and although ECSU and Brandeis each had eight offensive rebounds, the Judges outscored ECSU 9-3 in second chance points. Brandeis shot 47.6 percent (20-42) for the game while holding ECSU to 39.1 percent (18-46).

Bartoldus won MVP honors scoring 34 points in the tournament (11.3 ppg) to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and 13-of-19 shooting (68.4 percent), including 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) from beyond the arc.

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