February 9, 2007

Men's hoops records first 15-win season since '94-95 with 75-52 win over CMU

WALTHAM, Mass. – Four Brandeis University starters scored in double figures as the Judges reached the 15-win plateau for the first time since 1994-95 with a 75-52 victory over visiting Carnegie Mellon University in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest tonight.

Brandeis (15-6, 5-5 UAA) was led by juniors Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) and Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia), who each tallied 16 points. DeLuca, who had 10 points in the first half, hit seven-of-14 from the floor with a pair of trifectas. He also had five rebounds to tie for team-high honors. Rexhepi's 16 came on five-of-12 from the field with two from downtown, and four-of-four from the line. He also had four boards and five assists. Juniors Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) and Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.) added 12 points each. The fifth starter, Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) was held off the scoreboard, but contributed six assists, four rebounds and two steals.

Carnegie Mellon (12-8, 5-5 UAA) put just one player in double digits, sophomore Ryan Einwag (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Einwag had 12 points, but just two after halftime. He also led the Tartans with eight rebounds. Junior Geoff Kozak (Huntington, Pa.) and sophomore Dan Martin (Boardman, Ohio) each had eight points. Kozak led CMU with a pair of 3-pointers and with three assists.

The game featured nine lead changes and two ties in the first half. Carnegie Mellon established a 29-25 lead on Kozak's trifecta with 4:31 left in the stanza, but Brandeis scored the final 10 points before the break. Coppens gave the hosts the lead for good on a dish from Rexhepi, who scored the last five points of the first to give Brandeis a 35-29 lead in the locker room.

In the second half, CMU got to within two points, 40-38, on an Einwag lay-up with 16:17 on the clock, but the Judges outscored the visitors 35-14 the rest of the way. Brandeis outshot Carnegie Mellon, 52 percent to 33 percent in the second half in pulling away. For the game, Brandeis forced 20 turnovers, converting them into 21 points, while committing just nine to match their second-lowest total of the season.

The Judges are next in action on Sunday afternoon against the University of Rochester at noon in their final home game of the regular season.