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Judges take step back, losing two on the road, seven-game winning streak snapped

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

January 31, 2013

This past weekend, the men’s basketball team dropped a pair of games on their second UAA road trip of the year, losing to No. 1 Rochester 69-65 and to Emory 69-55. With the losses, the Judges fall to 14-4 on the season with a 5-2 record in UAA play and slide from No. 19 in the nation to No. 25.

Against the Rochester Yellowjackets, then ranked No. 2 in the nation, the Judges were poised to upset the team and pick up a signature—and possibly season-defining—victory. Brandeis led Rochester 29-25 at the half, only the third time all season Rochester had trailed at the half, behind 12 points from Ben Bartoldus ’14 on 4-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and 2-of-3 at the free throw line. Additionally, the Judges’ defense held Rochester to just 33 percent shooting in the first half despite averaging a UAA-leading 51 percent from the floor on the season.

In the second half, the Judges extended their lead and led by eight points, 50-42 after a Bartoldus three-pointer with just eight minutes remaining in the contest. Soon enough, however, Rochester senior guard John DiBartolomeo, the leading scorer in the UAA and 6th leading scorer in the nation, caught fire, scoring Rochester’s next 12 points to tie the game at 52-52 with just four minutes remaining.

After trading scores, Bartoldus drove to the basket and converted the and-one to put the Judges ahead by three points, 59-56, with 2:53 remaining.

The next possession was the turning point of the game. After DiBartolomeo drained two free throws to cut the Judges’ lead to just one point, Gabriel Moton ’14 missed a straight away three-pointer and after Youri Dascy ’14 grabbed the offensive board. Dascy kicked the ball out to Moton at the top of the key but Moton was called for an offensive foul. This gave the ball back to Rochester and DiBartolomeo swung a pass to his teammate Kevin Sheehy for a corner three to put the Yellowjackets back on top 61-59 for the first time since they led 8-5 in the first half.

Although that was the last field goal by Rochester for the game, DiBartolomeo hit eight free throws to close the game as the Judges’ upset bid fell short, losing 69-65.

Bartoldus and Moton led the Judges with 21 points each while Dascy dropped 14 points combining for 56 of the team’s 65 points. Their scoring was not enough, however, as DiBartolomeo blew up for 36 points, including a school record 19-of-19 from the free throw line. During the final eight minutes of the game when Rochester mounted its comeback, DiBartolomeo scored or assisted on 21 of his team’s final 23 points.

The key stat of the game was the free throw disparity as Rochester outscored the Judges 29-11 from the line and had 31 free throw attempts to the Judges’ 14 attempts.

A few days earlier, the Judges saw their seven-game winning streak dismantled against the Emory Eagles.

Despite leading by as many as eight points in the first half, the Judges were never able to pull away as Emory immediately went on a run of their own, scoring 11 of the next 12 points to take the lead at 21-19. Brandeis responded with another run to retake the lead at 26-21, but they couldn’t close out the half strong as Emory scored the next eight points to take a three-point lead into halftime, 29-26.

Trailing at the half was nothing new for the Judges, as their two previous UAA road wins this season came after trailing at the half. They would again have to come back from behind as Emory extended their lead to eight points in the first five minutes of the second half; however, the Judges responded with an eight-point scoring flurry to tie the game at 40-40 with 13:15 remaining in regulation.

For the rest of the contest, the Judges’ shooters went ice cold, hitting just three field goals the rest of the way. Emory held the Judges to a paltry 21 percent shooting (3-of-14) down the stretch while Emory shot a hot 55 percent (12-of-22) to put the game out of reach, coasting to a 69-55 victory.

For the game, Moton once again led the Judges with 14 points while Bartoldus added nine points. Dascy led the Judges with five boards while Colby Smith ’16, Alex Schmidt ’14 and Moton each grabbed four caroms. Smith also tied for game-high honors with three assists.

After flourishing offensively in the second half in the last two games, shooting 51 percent, Brandeis struggled in this one shooting just 35 percent and a disappointing 55 percent from the free throw line.

Brandeis will look to bounce back from the losses as they host Emory and Rochester this weekend.

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