Graves-Fulgham named MVP as Judges win Brandeis Tip-Off title

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team turned up the defensive pressure to score 13 unanswered points in the second half, snapping a 42-42 tie, and the Judges pulled away to defeat Springfield College, 90-63, in the championship game of the Brandeis Tip-Off Tournament. In consolation action, Colby-Sawyer College held off Newbury College, 74-70.

Brandeis (2-0) was led by tournament MVP Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.), who had eight points and matched his career-high with 11 assists. He also had three steals and a blocked shot. It was his traditional three-point play with 11:42 left in the contest that snapped the game's deadlock. He also picked up an assist and a steal in the key stretch as the Judges put on a full-court press that Springfield was unable to cope with.

The Judges put four players in double figures in scoring, paced by junior guard Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia), who led all scorers with 15 points, hitting four-of-six from beyond the arc. Rexhepi led a Judges' attack that went 13-for-20 from long range with seven different players connecting. Junior forward Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) finished with 14 points after scoring just four the night before. Rookie forward Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass.) added 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds, including six on the offensive glass, while classmate Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn.) hit all three of his trifectas and finished with 10 points.

Springfield (1-1) had three players in double figures, led by senior forward Damian Farley (Natick, Mass.), who finished with 14 points on seven-of-12 from the floor. Junior guard Jamaal Gibbs (Norwalk, Conn.) and sophomore center Zach Mitzan (Wilmington, Mass.) each had 10 points. Mitzan led the Pride with eight rebounds, while Gibbs had four assists and four steals. Rookie forward Pat Crean (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) had a fine all-around performance in his second collegiate start with nine points, seven boards and a team-high five assists.

In addition to MVP Graves-Fulgham, the All-Tournament team was made up of Newbury's Arch Mitchell, Tyler Fournier of Colby-Sawyer, Farley and Gibbs of Springfield and Rexhepi of Brandeis.