February 25, 2006

Men's hoops ends regular season with 70-46 rout of NYU

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team closed the first half with a 32-11 run today as the Judges defeated visiting New York University, 70-46, in the University Athletic Association (UAA) finale for both teams.

Brandeis (14-11, 7-7 UAA) jumped out to the big first-half lead thanks to stellar shooting from beyond the arc, hitting nine-of-14 from 3-point range. Five different Judges contributed trifectas, paced by three-of-three from sophomore forward Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) and three-of-four by classmate Rocco Toppi (Portland, Maine). The Judges also committed just one turnover in the opening 20 minutes while forcing the Violets into six turnovers.

For the game, Brandeis hit 53 percent overall from the floor (26-49) and 50 percent from long range (10-20) as they avenged a 79-75 loss in New York City earlier this season. For the game, three Brandeis players tied for team-high honors with 11 points: Coppens, Toppi and rookie guard Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass.). Sophomore guard Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) added nine points and a game-high eight assists, while backcourt mate Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) added nine points and four helpers. Sophomore forward Steve DeLuca (Marrimack, N.H.) tied for game-high with six rebounds. The Judges finished with a season-low eight turnovers while getting 17 assists on 26 baskets. The Brandeis bench outscored NYU's by a 28-6 margin.

NYU (18-7, 7-7 UAA) was paced by a game-high 19 points from junior forward Michael DeCorso (Freehold, N.J.), who hit seven-of-16 from the floor, including four-of-eight 3-pointers. Senior Jared Kildare (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) was the only other Violet in double figures with 10 points and a team-high three assists. Junior forward Chael Clark (Dunmore, Pa.) had six rebounds to lead the Violets, who also committed just eight turnovers, but had only nine assists on 17 hoops. NYU also shot just four-of-12 from the line.