DeLuca double-double leads Judges past Suffolk, 79-70

BOSTON, Mass. -- Sophomore forward Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) registered his second double-double in as many games as the Brandeis University Judges placed four players in double figures to defeat the Suffolk University Rams, 79-70, in nonconference men's basketball action.

Brandeis (2-1) was paced by DeLuca's 20 points and 11 rebounds. He hit seven-of-13 from the floor, including both 3-point attempts, and four-of-seven from the line. DeLuca also tied for game-high honors with five assists and led Brandeis with three steals.

Also reaching double figures for the Judges were sophomore Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia), who had 17 points, seven boards and five assists sophomore reserve forward Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.), who added a season-high 13 points off the bench, and sophomore forward Rocco Toppi (Portland, Maine), who had 10 points. Brandeis owned a 47-30 rebound margin, including 18-9 on the offensive glass.

Suffolk (0-3) was paced by a game-high 22 points from John Murphy (Reading, Mass.), who hit seven-of-16 from the floor and was one of three Ram players with three 3-pointers. Murphy also went five-of-six from the line. Also reaching double figures for the Rams were Brian Small, who had 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds, and Josh Morelock with 12 points.

Brandeis took a 15-8 lead early in the game on a Toppi three. Brandeis held a 28-17 lead in the first half, until Suffolk finished the half strong with an 8-1 run to only trail 29-25 at the break. Murphy contributed with 11 of his 22 in the half.

The second half was a Florian Rexhepi show, as the 2005 UAA Rookie of the Year scored all of his 17 points in the second half. Rexhepi converted on six of his 13 shot attempts in the half. He also landed seven rebounds and five assists on the night.

Brandeis upped their lead to 35-28 to start the second half on a two-pointer from Rexhepi. However, Suffolk tied the game at 44-44 early on in the half. Unfortunately for Suffolk, Brandeis' Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) hit his only three-point shot of the game shortly after, putting Brandeis up for good 47-44 with 12:54 remaining.

Brandeis took charge, building a 70-56 lead with just 4:23 remaining. Suffolk attempted a comeback hitting three three-point shots in the final four minutes, two coming from Murphy, only to lose by nine.