January 8, 2006

Men's hoops falls to No. 17 Rochester by one, 48-47

WALTHAM, Mass. – For the second year in a row, the University of Rochester men's basketball team survived a one-point game in Waltham, as the visiting Yellowjackets defeated host Brandeis University, 48-47, in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest.

Rochester (8-3, 1-2 UAA) averted three-game UAA losing streak thanks to sophomore center Jon Onyiriuka (Painted Post, N.Y.). Onyiriuka registered his third double-double of the season with a game- and season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, also a game-high. He also hit the game-winning free throw with 27 seconds left on the clock.

After Onyiriuka hit the second of two foul shots, Brandeis (7-5, 0-2 UAA) had a chance for the win, but the Rochester defense clogged the lane as sophomore guard Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) drove to the basket and forced a bad shot with three seconds remaining. Time expired as the teams scrambled to pick up the rebound.

Brandeis trailed for all of the defensive first, taking a 22-18 deficit into the locker room. After Onyiriuka hit a lay-up to give UR a 24-18 lead early in the second, the Judges went on a 12-2 run, taking a 25-24 lead on a trifecta from junior Ido Givon (Givataim, Israel) with 17:14 on the clock. Givon hit from long distance on the Judges' next possession to give them their largest lead of the contest, 28-24.

The Judges held on to the lead until the 10:13 mark, when another Onyiriuka lay-up gave UR a 37-36 lead. Brandeis sophomore Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) answered with a pair of free throws, triggering five ties and a pair of lead changes the rest of the way before the final margin.

In addition to Onyiriuka, sophomore guard Jeff Juron (Niskayuna, N.Y.) added seven points an eight boards for the Yellowjackets. Senior Joe Canty (Dudley, Mass.) added a game-high four assists along with seven rebounds. UR owned a 39-28 advantage on the glass to help them overcome 14 turnovers.
Brandeis was paced by 11 points each from Rexhepi and sophomore forward Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.). DeLuca also led Brandeis with six rebounds and three assists. The Judges were unable to overcome 35 percent shooting from the floor (17-for-49) and a 10-of-19 performance for the line (53 percent).

Brandeis is next in action next Saturday for their first road UAA game of the season at NYU at 4 p.m., while UR will compete in the JPMorgan Chase Tournament on Wednesday.