Men's hoops comeback falls short at Rochester, 71-62

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (taken from a UR press release) -- The Brandeis men's basketball team rallied to pull within one point with 97 seconds left in regulation, but the host University of Rochester scored the final eight points to pull away for the 71-62 victory.

With the Yellowjackets nursing a 63-62 lead, Jon Onyiriuka made two free throws and Jeff Juron made one. Juron missed his second chance, but Uche Ndubizu rebounded with 59 seconds left and got the ball to Juron who was fouled again. He sank two shots.

After Brandeis missed, Will Thorne fed Onyiriuka for a breakaway thre-point play, driving for a layup, then adding a free throw.

Juron finished with a season’s high 19 points. Onyiriuka had 15 points and 12 rebounds, his sixth double-double this year. Joe Canty scored 11 points for Rochester (6-4 University Athletic Association, 15-6).

Steve DeLuca scored 16 points for the Judges (5-5 UAA, 12-9), 14 coming in the second half. Rocco Toppi had 15 points, including three three-point goals.

Rochester moved within a game of first place in the UAA with the victory. NYU and Carnegie are tied for the UAA lead at 7-3. NYU comes to the Palestra on Sunday.

The Yellowjackets hit 67% from the floor in the first half and built a 35-21 lead at the break. It grew to 17 on a three-pointer by Joe Canty two minutes into the second half (40-23). Rochester still led by 11, 45-34, after two free throws by Eric Snider. Brandeis went on an 11-0 run over 3:15 to tie the score at 45-45 on a jumper in the lane by Toppi. He was fouled by Uche Ndubizu on the play and might have given the Judges a lead. His free throw was wiped out when a teammate stepped into the lane on the shot.

Ndubizu quickly atoned at the other end, making a layup. Michael Chmielowiec and Max Kaplan hit three point goals, stretching the edge to 53-46 with 8:03 left before Brandeis charged again.

Chmielowiec’s second three-pointer of the game put Rochester ahead, 63-57, with 2:34 left. Toppi sank two free throws and DeLuca drained a three, cutting the edge to 63-62, with 1:37 remaining. Juron and Onyiriuka took over in the closing minutes.