December 5, 2006

Four in double figures lead Brandeis men to 66-51 win over Clark, best start in 34 years

WALTHAM, Mass. – Four Brandeis starters scored in double figures, paced by sophomore Kevin Olson's (Rockport, Mass.) career-best 22 as the Judges improved to 9-0 for just the third time in school history with a 66-51 win over Clark University in Red Auerbach Arena.

Brandeis (9-0) matched the 1972-73 squad for the second-best start in school history. The only better beginning to a season for the Judges came in 1957-58, when they won 10 in a row against the likes of Boston College and Northeastern. The Judges' nine-straight wins are the longest in a single-season since 1991-92. Their 11-game winning skein that includes the last two games of the 2005-06 season is the second-longest in school history to an 18-game streak that spanned the 1953-54 and 1954-55 seasons.

Olson led all scorers with 22 points in just his third career start. He hit nine-of-14 from the floor, including four-of-six from beyond the arc. Olson also matched his career-high with six rebounds. Junior forward Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. It was the sixth double-double of his career. Junior guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) scored 11 points on five-of-six shooting with a trifecta while dishing a game-high four assists. Junior Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) rounded out the Brandeis players in double figures with 10 points. The Judges shot 49 percent for the game, while allowing the Cougars just 31 percent from the floor.

Clark (3-2) saw its three-game winning streak snapped. The Cougars had just one player in double figures, rookie guard Matt McLaughlin (Rochester, Mass.), who had 10 points, eight coming in the first half. Sophomore forward Peter Normandin (Westminster, Mass.) led Clark with eight rebounds, including a game-high four on the offensive glass. Normandin also had three steals. The Cougars outrebounded Brandeis, 42-33, including 20-9 on the offense, but committed 21 turnovers.

Brandeis never trailed in the contest after Olson opened the contest with a 3-pointer. The Judges ran out to a 24-6 lead over the first 10:39, holding Clark to three-of-12 shooting with nine turnovers in that span. Brandeis led by as many as 20 in the first half before taking a 40-23 lead into the locker room. Clark got within 12 points in the second half, but never got the deficit into single digits.

Brandeis's final game of the first semester will be their stiffest test when they take on second-ranked Amherst College on the road Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Clark is next in action Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at Fitchburg State.