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Judges rebound with overtime victory at Chicago

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports, Top Stories

February 3, 2012

Just five days after defeating Chicago in overtime, the men’s basketball team pulled out a tough overtime victory against Case Western Reserve, 78-74, this past Friday. The Judges continued their strong play in an 80-67 win against Carnegie Mellon this past Sunday. With the two wins, the Judges improve to 11-7 (5-2 UAA) and are in a good position to make a strong push for the playoffs over the last month of the season.

The first 33 minutes of the contest were extremely tight, with neither team able to establish an edge. During this period, the largest lead was five points by Case Western late in the first half. With roughly seven minutes left in regulation time, there had been four ties and 14 lead changes.

Brandeis trailed 51-50 following a dunk from Case sophomore center David Thompson at the 7:10 mark of the second half; however, Brandeis guard Ben Bartoldus ’14 answered with a three-pointer from the right, thereby giving Brandeis a 53-51 lead. Bartoldus’ basket started a 12-2 run for the Judges during the next three minutes of play. Forward Vytas Kriskus ’12 capped off the run with a three-pointer with 3:43 left in the game to give Brandeis a 62-53 edge in the waning minutes of the contest.

Case did not back down from the deficit as they held Brandeis to just one field goal for the rest of regulation as they went on a 12-2 run of their own. Case senior forward Tom Summers scored eight of 12 points during this stretch while also controlling three crucial rebounds in the final 90 seconds of regulation. After grabbing an offensive board with 1:21 left, he scored to cut the Case deficit to 64-60. Then, after playing a tight defense on Kriskus at the other end, he collected the defensive rebound and scored a layup to make it a one-possession game with 45 seconds left.

The Judges didn’t do themselves any favors as they missed their third free throw of the game in crunch time with 23 seconds remaining in regulation. Summers once again made the key play for Case grabbing the rebound off of the missed free throw and Case called timeout to set up a final play. Following the timeout, Case worked the ball into the paint where Judges’ guard Tyrone Hughes ’12 was called for a reach-in foul with 11.6 seconds left. Case junior guard Robert Scott calmly drained both free throws, tying the game at 64-64.

Despite the Judges’ inability to score down the stretch, they still had a chance to win the game in regulation following the free throws by Scott. Hughes drove into the lane and got enough separation from his defender to attempt a jumper. The jumper was off the mark and Bartoldus was unable successfully to control the offensive rebound.

Much like in regulation, overtime was a tightly contested affair as well; however, the Judges connected on 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the extra period to eke out the win. The Judges had a balanced attack in overtime as their 14 points came from four different players, with no player scoring more than four points.

Center Youri Dascy ’14 led Brandeis with seven rebounds while Hughes had a game-high seven assists. Bartoldus led all players with three steals, which helped give Brandeis a 15-11 edge in turnovers and a 21-14 advantage in points scored off of turnovers. The points off of turnovers helped Brandeis overcome a 23-10 deficit in points from the charity stripe.
The Judges looked to carry the momentum from the overtime victory against Case to their contest against Carnegie Mellon.

The first half could not have gone any better for the Judges as they stormed out of the gate, opening the contest on a 21-9 run during the first eight minutes of play. Carnegie Mellon was able to cut their deficit to nine points at 28-19; however, the Judges didn’t let them get any closer as they closed the half on a 18-2 run to take a commanding 46-21 lead into the locker room at the half. Terrific bench play, including eight points and two three-pointers from guard Anthony Trapasso ’14, helped pad the Judges’ lead in the first half.

The second half did not go as smoothly for the Judges as sloppy play and turnovers let the Tartans roar back into the contest. After committing just six turnovers in the first half, Brandeis committed a devastating 12 turnovers in the second half. With 3:11 remaining in the second half, a jumper from CMU sophomore guard Rashaun Riley cut the once commanding Judges’ lead to just nine points. Fortunately, the Tartans were unable to get any closer as the Judges’ strong bench play continued as guard Jay Freeman ’13 helped the Judges hang in with a layup and four free throws over the final stretch.

Bartoldus said that after a “long overtime game on Friday night, we just sputtered out in the second half. We were running plays to run the clock out, but we still got the win.” When the Judges have a lead, they cannot afford to run the shot clock down to 10-15 seconds before setting their offense in motion as it will force them to take contested jumpers, thereby receiving odd looks by using this type of offense.

Kriskus led Brandeis with 17 points while Hughes added 13 points. Guard Derek Retos ’14 scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc, Freeman had 11 points and Dascy finished with 11 points. Dascy, Kriskus and forward Alex Schmidt ’14 all tied for the team lead with six rebounds while Schmidt led the team with two blocks. Hughes led the team with four assists and Freeman led the Judges with four steals, a career high. Brandeis had their third-best shooting performance of the season, shooting a blistering 58.3 percent on 28-of-48 shooting.

Bartoldus added that this is “still a young team, but we are starting to mature from last year. Our two seniors keep us focused.” He continued, “Last year was a rollercoaster with everyone trying to prove themselves, but this year, we all have a year’s experience.” Bartoldus finished, saying, “We anticipate making the playoffs but we have to beat Emory coming up and we have some big games coming up on the road that we need to win.”

The Judges will look to keep their momentum going and continue their playoff push when they travel to face Case Western Reserve again this Friday at 8 p.m. The Judges will be on the road for the next two weeks before they return home Feb. 17 for a 8 p.m. contest against Washington.

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