January 27, 2006

Men's hoops downs Case, 81-64

WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University sophomore guard Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) scored a game-high 23 points to pace a group of four Judges in double figures to an 81-64 University Athletic Association (UAA) victory over Case Western Reserve University tonight in Auerbach Arena.

Brandeis (9-7, 2-4 UAA) picked up its second UAA win of the season thanks to DeLuca's nine-of-11 shooting performance from the floor that included five-of-six from 3-point range. He also had four rebounds and a pair of assists. Sophomore guard Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) had 16 points, five assists and a game-high three steals. Sophomore forward Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.) added 14 points on six-of-nine shooting and five rebounds, three on the offensive glass. Rookie guard Huston Conti (Edmonds, Wash.) provided a spark off the bench with 10 points, hitting a pair of trifectas. Sophomore guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass. ) led all players with six assists, while classmate forward Rocco Toppi (Portland, Maine) had a team-best six rebounds off the bench.

Case (10-7, 2-4) dropped its second straight league game despite having three players reach double figures. Sophomore center Mason Conrad (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) led the way for the Spartans with 14 points, hitting seven-of-11 shots, and seven boards, Senior leading scorer Carson Oren (South Bend, Ind.) had 12 points, but shot just five-for-15 from the floor. Junior guard Matt Cannan (Dublin, Ohio) had 11 points a game-high eight rebounds.

In a contest that featured 10 ties and 11 lead changes, Brandeis was finally able to pull away midway through the second half. Case took a 45-42 lead on a traditional three-point play by Cannan with 15:21 left in the contest. Hill answered with a jumper for Brandeis, but Oren's fast-break lay-up put the Spartans ahead, 47-44, with 14:10 remaining.

At that point, Brandeis scored 10 unanswered points over the next 2:45. Sophomore Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) tallied all of his five points in the key run, while DeLuca capped it with a trifecta. The teams traded buckets over the next few possessions, but Brandeis held the visitors to just two field goals over the final six minutes to pull away with the victory.