February 11, 2007

Men's hoops shoots lights out from downtown to defeat Rochester, 73-66

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team shot a season-high 69 percent from 3-point range (11-16) and 58 percent from the field (23-40) today as the Judges defeated the University of Rochester, 73-66, in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest in Red Auerbach Arena. With the win, Brandeis has its winningest season since going 18-10 and winning an ECAC crown in 1991-92. The Judges also snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Yellowjackets.

Brandeis (16-6, 6-5 UAA) put three players in double figures, paced by 21 points from junior forward Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.), who hit seven-of-10 from the floor, five-of-six from beyond the arc and both free throws. Junior guard Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) had 14 points on five-of-seven for the field and two-of-three from downtown. Junior Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13 points on four-of-nine with two-of-five from deep and three-of-four from the line. Coppens also tied for team-high honors with four rebounds with classmate Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.) Junior guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) dished a game-high five assists.

Rochester (16-6, 7-4 UAA) was paced by 21 points off the bench from junior Robert Dominiak (New York, N.Y.), who also lit it up from long distance. Dominiak hit six-of-eight from 3-point range for 18 of his points, while his other three came after being fouled on a trifecta. Sophomore Mike Chmielowiec (Batavia, N.Y.) added 11 points for the Yellowjackets, hitting five-of-10 from the field with a 3-pointer. Senior Tim Brackney (Columbia, Md.) added nine points with three 3-pointers. Junior Uche Ndubizu (West Windsor, N.J.) had a game-high 10 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass to match the Judges' entire output, but only scored three points.

With the game tied at 11-11 after a Dominiak 3-pointer eight minutes into the contest, Brandeis went on a 12-3 run over the next eight minutes to claim a 23-14 lead four straight points by rookie center Rich Magee (Burke, Va.). UR got back within three on a Chmielowiec jumper with 22 seconds left in the stanza, but a DeLuca 3-pointer bounced on the rim twice and dropped at buzzer to foreshadow the Judges' strong second half.

Buckets by DeLuca and Hill gave Brandeis a 32-22 lead early in the second, but Rochester answered with a 19-8 run over the next nine minutes to claim a brief 41-40 lead on a Dominiak 3-pointer, who went on to score UR's next nine points, but four different Judges connected from beyond the arc on the next four trips and Brandeis never relinquished the lead. The margin bulged to 13 points, 65-52, with 2:02 on the clock on seven-straight points from Graves-Fulgham. Rochester forced turnovers and hit threes of their own to get within four three times in the last two minutes, but eight-of-10 from the line clinched the game. The Judges shot 65 percent from the field in the second half (13-20), including seven-of-eight from downtown.