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Men’s basketball outplays Emory, loses by seven to Rochester

By Charlie Romanow

Section: Sports

February 8, 2013

The men’s basketball team split their two University Athletic Association (UAA) games this past weekend, narrowly defeating Emory University on Friday and losing to the University of Rochester on Sunday. Although Brandeis had lost to both squads the previous weekend, these recent matches were played at home and were hotly contested. The Judges started with a 72-67 win over the Emory Eagles and a 66-59 loss to the Rochester Yellow Jackets, the No. 1 team in the nation. The Judges leave the weekend ranked third in the conference and ranked 25th in the nation, behind UAA rivals Rochester at No. 1 and Washington University in St. Louis at No. 2.

Friday’s prime time game had Brandeis facing off against Emory who had beaten the Judges by 14 points just a week earlier. Alex Stoyle ’14 said that in going into the game against Emory he felt prepared after the previous weekend’s road trip.

“[I] felt more focused and ready … than in general. I thought a lot last week about the weekend, talked to coach about what I needed to do and tried to refocus; and it’s always easier to play at home,” Stoyle said.

Stoyle’s focus was clear as he led the team this past Friday by achieving his first career double-double, recording career-highs of 27 points and 13 rebounds. Ben Bartoldus ’14 was not far behind with 20 points, along with center Youri Dascy ’14 who had 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half. While it was a back and forth contest, the Judges won by out-rebounding the Eagles 39-30, outshooting them from the field 48 percent to 39 percent and only missing one free throw. Although Brandeis made three fewer field goals than Emory, they had three more 3-pointers and eight more free throws. Strong shot selection was key in this game.

The Eagles had a very even core of players with four starters scoring in double figures, led by McPherson Moore who led his team with 19 points and two assists. The Judges’ 14 assists far-outweighed Emory’s six but what kept the Eagles in the game were the Judges’ 14 turnovers.

Coach Brian Meehan said the turnovers could have been costly.

“We need to continue playing solid defense, which we have all season, but we need to focus on taking care of the ball better as turnovers have really hurt us,” Meehan said.

Both teams struggled off of the bench with the home team putting up four points from the bench, which narrowly outdid the Eagles’ three bench points. Brandeis had the lead at the half but was outscored early in the second half, down 33-31, before Stoyle made two consecutive 3-pointers. Toward the end of the game, the Judges went on an 11-1 run to create a nice cushion that the Eagles could not overcome. This lifted the Judges to 15-4 overall and 6-2 in conference, while it left the Eagles at 13-5 overall and 5-3 in conference.

The Sunday afternoon game pitted the 25th ranked Judges against No. 1 ranked Rochester.  The hometown team wanted to keep the momentum going from Friday’s win but were unable to get a strong lead in the game. The season’s lead scorer, Gabriel Moton ’14 had a lackluster game on Friday but came back to lead the Judges with 17 points on Sunday. Moton’s performance was exasperated by the fact that he could only play five minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Stoyle led the game with nine rebounds and contributed 15 points and three blocks. The Yellow Jackets led readily for most of the game, at most by 14 before facing resistance from the Judges who went on a 15-2 run to eventually come within one point.

Rochester outshot Brandeis from the floor in the first half by shooting 40 percent against the Judges’ 26 percent. Emory’s Rob Reid and John DiBartolomeo enhanced the difference by each making a key steal and shot. DiBartolomeo led Emory in triple crown categories with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

Looking at the box score, the teams had similar field goal and 3-point percentages with Brandeis shooting more efficiently from the free throw line. As in Friday’s game, the Judges had trouble maintaining control of the ball with 16 turnovers, twice as many as the Yellow Jackets. While the home team did lose, their performance was admirable, especially against the No. 1 ranked team in the country. Despite the poor first-half performance, the Judges outrebounded and out-assisted Rochester and put a speed bump in front of the Yellow Jackets’ stinger.

“We have yet to have everyone clicking at the same time. Moving forward we need to have all our guys contributing in a positive way each game,” Meehan said.

Stoyle shared the sentiment.

“If we can eliminate some of our mistakes and execute our offense, we can play with anyone. I think we just need to continue to be more consistent and disciplined and put together 40 minutes of high energy, solid, team basketball,” Stoyle said.

Some of the individual players have had strong performances, but to contend for a championship, the Judges will have to have all pieces working together at the same time.

The Judges have already earned more wins this season than they had during all of last season and have placed themselves on a national stage as a team that won’t go down easily. The Judges head out to the Great Lakes area to face off against UAA rivals Carnegie Mellon on Friday and Case Western on Sunday.

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