ATLANTA, Ga. -- In a game that featured significant scoring runs by both teams, the Brandeis University men's basketball team got the final one, ending the game on an 11-2 run that gave the Judges a 71-65 win over the host Emory University Eagles in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest. With the win, the Judges won their 10th game, a milestone they haven't reached in 10 years, while their three conference wins matched their UAA win total from a year ago.
Brandeis (10-5, 3-2 UAA) placed three starters in double figures, led by senior Bryan Lambert's (Auburn, Maine) 24 points and team-high eight rebounds. Lambert hit nine-of-14 from the floor and six-of-seven from the free throw line. Rookie Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) added 18 points on seven-of-11 shooting, a career-high sevfen assists and three steals to lead all players. Classmate Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) had 14 points, seven boards and four assists. The Judges overcame a 36-26 disadvantage on the glass by outscoring the Eagles, 17-4, from the free throw line, and winning the turnover battle, 18-15.
Emory (9-5, 2-3 UAA) dropped its third straight game against Brandeis. The Eagles got game-highs from senior Chase Fawcett, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds. Fawcett hit 13-of-26 from the floor, but missed his only 3-pointer and was 0-for-2 from the line. Guard Spiros Ferderigos added 15 points, but no other Emory player had more than seven points.
Emory started out hot, as the Eagles scored the first 11 points of the game over the first four minutes. Brandeis answered over the next six minutes by going on a 20-2 tear to take a 20-13 lead with 10:08 on the clock. The Eagles scored nine of the ensuing 10 points to take a 22-21 lead three minutes later, but Brandeis closed the first half with a 16-5 run over the final seven minutes to claim a 37-27 lead at the break on DeLuca's free throw with six seconds left in the first. Rexhepi hit six-of-seven shots in the first to lead all players with 14 points.
In the second, Brandeis scored six of the first eight points to build their biggest lead of the game, 45-31, when RExhepi hit two-of-three free throws after getting fouled beyond the arc. Emory's Jeff Hall answered with a similar two-of-three performance after attempting a trifecta, but Lambert answered with a lay-up to give the Judges a 47-33 lead with 16:41 remaining.
The Emory defense then buckled down as the hosts outscored Brandeis 28-10 over the next 13 minutes of action. A traditional three-point play and a lay-up by Ferderigos tied the game at 55-55, while consecutive lay-ups by Fawcett reestablished a four-point Eagle lead with 5:23 left. Lambert's traditional three-point play got Brandeis back within one, but Ferderigos answered with a trifecta to give his team a 64-60 lead with 3:41 on the clock, but Brandeis allowed the Eagles just two points the rest of the way. Rookie Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) gave the Judges the lead for good on a lay-up with just over a minute left on the clock, and the visitors hit just enough free throws while Emory missed from the floor to give the Judges the win.