Brandeis men top Case, 56-51, to clinch best season since 1991-92

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Junior Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) led all players with 22 points and nine rebounds today as the Brandeis University men's basketball team defeated Case Western Reserve University, 56-51, in University Athletic Association (UAA) action. With the win, the Judges picked up their 18th win of the season, marking their highest win total since 1991-92.

After a back-and-forth first five minutes, Case took a 10-9 lead on a bucket by Mason Conrad. DeLuca answered with one of his four 3-pointers on the day to jump-start an 11-0 run over the next five minutes to take a 20-10 lead that the Judges would not relinquish. Five different players contributed to the key run. Brandeis led by as many as 14 in the first half before the Spartans (4-20, 0-13 UAA) closed the stanza with eight unanswered points to trail, 32-26, at the break. The Judges' advantage bounced between six and 14 points in the second half before Case got within four points in the final minute of action, but the Spartans were never able to get over the hump.

DeLuca's 22 points for the day came on nine-of-16 from the floor, including four-of-nine from 3-point range. His game-high nine rebounds included three on the offensive glass. Junior guard Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) added nine points, while forward Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.) had eight points and seven boards. Rookie Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass.) led all players off the bench with four assists. The Judges hit 45 percent from the field (23-51) while holding Case to 39 percent (22-57), including just 1-14 from beyond the arc.

Case was paced by 14 points on five-of-11 from the field with a 3-pointer by Conrad. He also led the team with three assists. Center Rob Skuski added 10 points and five boards, while guard Brandon Bradford added eight points and a team-best eight rebounds.

Brandeis closes out the regular season next Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at New York University in a battle between two teams tied for third place in the UAA.