December 4, 2004

REXHEPI LEADS BRANDEIS MEN TO 73-57 WIN OVER SUFFOLK

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Rookie reserve guard Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) scored a career-high 19 points and added five assists to lead the host Brandeis University men's basketball team to a 73-57 win over visiting Suffolk University in Auerbach Arena.

Brandeis (4-2) scored the first eight points of the game and 11 of the first 13 as the Judges never trailed in the contest. Brandeis went up by 11 at 26-15 in the first half on Rexhepi's first bucket of the game, a trifecta with 6:46 on the clock. Suffolk answered with a 15-9 run to close the half, with junior forward Peter Thompson (Braintree, Mass.) scoring the final four on a traditional three-point play, plus another free throw, and the Rams trailed by five, 35-30, at the break.

Suffolk (2-3) would get as close as four points midway through the second half. After Brandeis coach Brian Meehan called a time out when the Rams cut the lead to 44-40 with 11:34 on the clock, Brandeis rattled off a 20-5 streak over the next five minutes. The Judges held the visitors to just two field goals over that span while Brandeis hit seven in a row of their own. Rexhepi had two buckets and two assists in that span.

In addition to Rexhepi, who seven-of-nine from the floor, including five-of-seven from 3-point range, the Judges put two other players in double figures. Senior center Bryan Lambert (Auburn, Maine) had 18 points, also hitting seven-of-nine from the floor, while rookie forward Rocco Toppi (Portland, Maine) added 12 points, five assists and a game- and career-best four steals. Brandeis also got game-high performances from forward Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.), who had 12 rebounds, and guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.), with eight assists.

Suffolk was paced by 12 points each from Thompson and senior guard Chris Emma (Braintree, Mass.), while senior forward Chris Tighe (Easton, Mass.) had 10 points and a team-high six rebounds. The Rams hit just 37.9 percent from the floor (25-66), whole allowing Brandeis to hit on 48.3 percent (28-58).

With the win, Brandeis is off to their best start in a decade. The Judges opened the season 5-1 in 1994-95, but have not reached their fourth win before the seventh game of the season since. Brandeis will take on Clark University Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in their next contest.