January 2, 2007

Men's hoops rallies for 81-73 win at Curry in second-semester opener

MILTON, Mass. -- Four Brandeis University starters scored in double figures tonight to lead the Judges past host Curry College, 81-73, in their second-semester opener. The Judges, who were behind by as many as nine points in the second half, trailed by four with three minutes remaining before closing the contest on a 14-2 run over the final 2:59 of the game.

Brandeis (10-1) showed a balanced offense in winning its final non-conference game of the regular season. Junior Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) led the Judges with 19 points and grabbed six rebounds, while junior guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) had 17 points and a game-high five assists. Both players had three steals to lead the Judges. Rookie Rich Magee (Burke, Va.) posted career-highs with 12 points and six boards, while junior Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) had 11 points. Junior Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) tied for game-high honors with seven rebounds.

Brandeis outscored Curry, 11-2, from the free throw line, hitting 11-of-12 from the charity stripe. The Judges also owned a 37-32 rebounding edge. Curry outshot the visitors in the first half, 53 percent to 45 percent, but Brandeis turned that around in the second, %53-%42 to finish with a slight edge, %49-%42.

The Judges were able to overcome a 30-point performance from Curry's (2-8) Tim Jones. Jones also tied Coppens with seven rebounds and led the Colonels with four assists. Stephen Prescod was the only other Curry player to reach double figures, tallying 11 points, while Johnathan Bowers also polled down seven caroms for the hosts.

Curry jumped out to a 9-2 lead after the first three-plus minutes of the contest, but Brandeis was up by six, 30-24, with 3:38 left before intermission. The Colonels closed on an 11-6 run to take a 37-36 advantage into the locker room. Curry opened the second with a trifecta, then converted two Brandeis turnovers into five more points to establish a 45-36 lead early in the half. The lead was still nine with 13:09 on the clock when DeLuca and Magee scored the game's next nine points to tie the score at 53-53 at the 10:46 mark. The hosts answered with an 8-2 run over the next 2:15, and the Colonels clung to the lead. Curry was ahead by four, 71-67, with 2:59 on the clock, when Brandeis went on the decisive run. DeLuca got the Judges within one on a three-pointer, his only make from beyond the arc for the game, then gave Brandeis a lead they wouldn't relinquish with a traditional three-point play with 1:40 remaining. Graves-Fulgham buried a jumped the next time down the floor and the Judges hit four free throws and a lay-up to ice the contest, holding Curry to one-for-seven from the floor with a pair of turnovers in the decisive run.