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Judges go 2-1 over week as coach wins 300th game

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

December 9, 2011

The visiting Brandeis Judges dominated the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with a 83-68 thrashing. The Judges scored the first five points of the contest and never trailed for the rest of the game.

Brandeis had four players in double figures for the game. Guard Ben Bartoldus ’14 led the Judges with 22 points while guard Derek Retos ’14 added 21 points. Both Bartoldus and Retos each drained four three-pointers during the game.

In stark contrast to previous games, the Judges were not plagued by a slow start. Bartoldus scored the opening basket of the contest and, after a defensive stop on the other end, Retos knocked down a three-ball to give the Judges an early 5-0 lead. The Judges never had to attempt to rally from an early deficit as they led by 15 points, 27-12, midway through the first half. Their lead ballooned to as many as 18 points, 45-27; however, MCLA made a mini-run to pull within 14 points, 45-31, at the end of the first half.

MCLA came out strong in the second half and pulled within nine points, 66-57, with 6:10 remaining in the game off of a layup from sophomore forward Tito Pizzaro, but the Judges quickly pushed their lead back to 12 points with another three-pointer from Retos. After Retos’ shot, MCLA never made a serious rally again.

Brandeis held a significant advantage from the free-throw line shooting 27-of-37 for the game while MCLA only shot 11-of-19. Forward Vytas Kriskus ’12 and center Youri Dascy ’14 joined Bartoldus and Retos in double figures with 13 and 11 points respectively. Dascy also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Guard Tyrone Hughes ’12 tallied six assists in the win as well.

Earlier in the week, Brandeis men’s basketball head coach Brian Meehan finally won his 300th career game. Since a close overtime win against Becker on Nov. 19, Meehan has been trying to reach the 300-win milestone. He had been stuck at 299 for three weeks as the Judges endured a four-game losing streak; however, this past Sunday, Meehan finally reached the milestone as the Judges snapped their losing skid with a 61-53 win against Babson in the consolation game of the New England Big Four Challenge hosted by Salem State. Meehan becomes the 61st active Division III coach in the nation with at least 300 wins. Meehan, who was previously the head coach at Salem State from 1996 to 2003, is now 300-122 in his career (.711) with a record of 140-83 (.628) at Brandeis.

After a tight first half, Brandeis went into the half down three, 25-22. Brandeis opened the second half on fire with a 16-8 run to take a 38-33 lead. Retos finished off the run with his fourth three-pointer of the game, as the Judges held the Beavers to just three field goals in the first eight minutes of the second half.

Babson was able to stay in the game with great defense as they went on to hold Brandeis to just one field goal during the next six minutes of play. After a spectacular layup from first-year forward John Wickey, Babson re-gained a 43-42 lead. Later, with the game knotted up at 48-48, the Judges took the lead for good after Dascy drove home a layup and then converted the three-point play after being fouled. With the Judges holding a 54-51 lead, Kriskus drained a three-pointer to give the Judges a commanding six-point lead with just two minutes left in the contest.

Retos led all scorers with 17 points, including 13 of the Judges’ 22 first-half points. He connected on 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and was named to the all-tournament team for his performance. Bartoldus chipped in 14 points, including 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, and Dascy finished with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season and his second in a row.

The Judges shot 50 percent from the field (18-36) while the Beavers shot just 38.6 percent (18-46). The Judges also finished with a 33-25 advantage on the glass.

Earlier in the week, the Judges fell to Salem State, 65-57, in the opening round of the New England Big Four Challenge as junior guard Nate Simpson paced the Vikings with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Simpson scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half to deny Brandeis an entry into the championship game.

The Vikings took an early first-half lead, 19-10, behind two three-pointers from junior guard Justin Nieves and three baskets from senior forward Brian Clark; however, the Judges rallied from their early deficit behind the hot shooting of Retos and Bartoldus who combined for all 17 points in a 17-7 run that allowed Brandeis to take a 27-26 lead. Unfortunately, sophomore forward Ryan Salvador scored just before the half to give the Vikings a 27-28 lead heading into halftime.

Simpson sparked the first run of the second half for the Vikings scoring nine of their 13 first points. A jumper from Clark gave Salem State a 10-point lead, 46-36, their largest lead of the game.

The Judges proceeded to chip away at the deficit once again and were able to cut the Vikings’ lead to just two, 53-51, with 5:20 left in the contest; however, Simpson then drained his only three-pointer of the game to put the Vikings ahead 58-53. Bartoldus then responded with a runner to pull Brandeis back within three, 60-57, with just two minutes remaining in the game, but the Judges were unable to get over the hump as Simpson and senior guard Apollos Wade connected on 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

Clark joined Simpson in double figures for the Vikings with 14 points while Wade had six assists. Bartoldus, Retos and Dascy combined for 47 of the Judges’ 57 points with 17, 16 and 14 respectively. Dascy also grabbed 13 rebounds.

Brandeis will attempt to reach .500 again when they host second-ranked Amherst College this Saturday at 7 p.m.

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