November 30, 2006

Men's hoops improves to 6-0 for the first time in 30 seasons with 62-47 win over UMass-Dartmouth

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team improved to 6-0 for the first time since the 1976-77 season tonight as the Judges defeated visiting UMass-Dartmouth, 62-47, on Red Auerbach Arena. Their six-game winning streak this season and the eight-game streak that dates back to last season are the Judges' longest since 1991-92.

Brandeis (6-0) was paced by a game-high 16 points by junior forward Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.). DeLuca hit seven-of-14 from the floor, including two-of-three from 3-point range. He also pulled down nine rebounds and made three steals. Classmate Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) was the only other Brandeis player to score in double figures with 10 points, but two other Judges reached the plateau in other columns. Junior guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) had 10 assists, one shy of his career high, while junior reserve forward Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.) led all players with 10 rebounds off the bench, including five on the offensive glass.

UMass-Dartmouth (3-2) had three players score in double figures, paced by senior forward Stephane Abelard (Brockton, Mass.) with 13 points, 10 of which came in the first half. Abelard hit five-of-12 from the field, sinking three-of-four from beyond the arc. He also had five blocks and five rebounds on the defensive end of the court. Senior Paul Pawlowski (Taunton, Mass.) and rookie Matt Walker (Brockton, Mass.) finished with 10 points each. Pawlowski led the Corsairs with six rebounds, while sophomore guard Reece Freeman (Mattapan, Mass.) led UMD with four assists and three steals.

Brandeis never trailed in the first half, building leads of eight, seven and six at different points, but UMass-Dartmouth stayed close and trailed by just two at the break, 29-27. The Corsairs opened up the second stanza with an 11-4 run that gave them a 38-33 lead with 16:22 left on the clock. As in their previous wins, the Judges turned on a full-court press at that point and shut down the UMass-Dartmouth offense, outscoring the visitors by 29-9 the rest of the way. Brandeis forced 11 turnovers down the stretch run and held the visitors to just two field goals on 21 attempts over that span.

For the game, Brandeis out-rebounded UMass-Dartmouth by a 44-32 margin and won the turnover battle, 23-17. The Judges depth was also a factor, with the Brandeis bench outscoring the Corsairs by 20-7.

Brandeis is next in action on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. when they host Framingham State College, while UMass-Dartmouth opens Little East Conference play at Southern Maine at the same time.