January 7, 2005

ROCHESTER MEN OVERCOME 11-POINT DEFICIT TO HOLD OFF BRANDEIS, 64-63

WALTHAM, Mass. - The University of Rochester men's basketball team used a balanced attack with four different players scoring in double figures and two double-doubles to offset a season-high 29 points by Brandeis University senior Bryan Lambert as the visiting Yellowjackets rallied from 11 points down early in the second half to defeat the Judges, 64-63, in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest.

Brandeis (6-4, 0-1 UAA) trailed just once in the first half as the Judges opened up a 10-point lead late in the opening stanza. With the shot clock off at the end of the period, rookie guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham hit a driving lay-up with nine seconds left to put the hosts ahead, 37-28. Rochester (8-2, 1-1 UAA) answered with a key 3-pointer at the buzzer by sophomore guard Tim Brackney, a hoop that would prove to be pivotal. Lambert led all players with 12 points in the first, while rookie reserve guard Florian Rexhepi had 10 points. UR freshman center Jon Onyiriuka had nine points to led the Jackets.

Rochester (8-2, 1-1 UAA) faced its biggest deficit of the game when Lambert opened the second with a 3-pointer and then assists rookie Rocco Toppi to give the Judges a 44-33 lead less than a minute into the half. The visitors responded with a 12-2 run over the next six minutes that was capped by a trifecta from senior Gabe Perez. Lambert answer with his fourth bucket from beyond the arc to get the Judges' lead back to four, while a lay-up got the margin back to six at 51-45 with 10:59 on the clock. Both teams hit a dry spell, failing to score on their next three possessions.

Brandeis was unable to pull away over that stretch, and Rochester climbed back to within one with 6:08 thanks to senior Ryan Mee's trifecta. This time it was Rochester's turn to miss opportunities, as the Yellowjackets, trailing 53-52, had three chances to regain the lead before Lambert expanded the lead again to three points off a UR turnover. Rochester senior forward Seth Hauben answered with a lay-up on the following possession, while a steal by URB's Jeff Juron led to a junior Joe Canty's second long-distance hoop of the game at the 2:55 mark, giving the visitors their first lead since the first half.

Lambert answered the call with his fifth trifecta of the contest to put the Judges up by one. The ensuing possession gave UR the lead for good, as Hauben hit the front end of a one-and-one. He missed the second, but a long rebound went to Oyiriuka. The Jackets worked the ball around the perimeter to Canty, who hit from downtown with 1:05 on the clock to give the visitors a lead they wouldn't relinquish, 61-58. Lambert answered with his final bucker of the night the next time down to cut the lead to one. After Juron missed the second of two free throws, the Judges were in a position to tie or take the lead, but Hauben forced a turnover. After UR hit two more free throws with eight seconds on the clock, Brandeis rookie Joe Coppens hit a desperation 3-pointer from the corner with 3.2 seconds left. Perez missed the front end of the one-and-one with 2.7 seconds left, but Graves-Fulgham's half-court buzzer-beater hit off the backboard to give Rochester the win.