February 24, 2007

Men's hoops sweeps NYU, 76-67, to edge closer to postseason berth

NEW YORK - The Brandeis University men’s basketball team shot 62.5 percent in the second half and held the hosts without a field goal over a seven-minute span to rally from a nine-point deficit, completing its first-ever season sweep of rival New York University, 76-67, in University Athletic Association (UAA) action. With the win, the Judges picked up a 19th victory in the season for the first time since 1977-78 and improved their odds of an at-large berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.

Brandeis (19-6, 9-5 UAA) got off to a slow start in the first half, missing 15 of their first 17 shots as the Violets jumped out to a 12-4 lead nine minutes into the contest. The Judges climbed to within five points at 17-12 on a jumper and two free throws by rookie reserve Andre Roberson.

NYU (19-6, 8-6) responded with a 12-2 run over the next 4:21 highlighted by 3-pointers from seniors Matt Basford and Michael DeCorso that pushed the advantage to 29-16 with 4:00 before intermission. Brandeis closed strong, scoring 10 of the last 15 points, including eight from junior guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham, with a tip-in by rookie reserve forward Rich Magee at the buzzer slicing the halftime deficit to 34-26. DeCorso led all players with 13 first-half points on five-of-eight shooting with a pair of trifectas, while Graves-Fulgham paced the Judges with 10 points and five rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. Brandeis shot just one-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half (7.7 percent) and nine-of-32 overall (28.1%), while the Violets connected on 50 percent from the field (11-22) and three-of-eight from beyond the arc (37 percent).

In the second half, the Violets expanded the lead to nine points, 39-30, on a free throw by senior Jason Boone with just over 2:30 off the clock. Brandeis answered with a 10-1 run over the next four minutes, tying the game at 40-40 on a pair of Steve DeLuca free throws. NYU held onto the lead with a Boone lay-up, and were able to maintain it for the next five minutes until a key exchange. After Roberson missed a chance to give Brandeis its first lead with 7:41 on the clock, Violet sophomore Charlie Parker corralled the rebound and drove the length of the floor for a lay-up that gave NYU a 53-50 lead. However, Boone was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim following the bucket. Brandeis sophomore Kevin Olson hit the ensuing free throws and the Brandeis defense held NYU without a field goal over the next seven minutes. The Judges took their first lead on a Stephen Hill free throw, and hit five of their next seven field goals, taking a 66-58 lead with 1:44 to go on a jumper by Joe Coppens. The Judges hit 10-of-12 from the line down the stretch to ice the contest. Brandeis turned the shooting tables in the second half, connecting on 10-of-16 from the field (62.5%) and 27-of-33 from the line (81.8%), while holding the Violets to 8-of-25 (32%) from the floor.

Brandeis was led by Roberson’s career-high 17 points, hitting 10-of-13 from the line and three-of-seven from the field with a trifecta. Graves-Fulgham tallied 15 points and finished with seven boards (six offensive), while Olson closed out with 12 points and a pair of trifectas. Brandeis used a 34-25 advantage from the free-throw line and 15-6 edge in points off turnovers, as the Judges committed just five while NYU had 14 miscues.