November 27, 2007

Fast start lifts No. 7 men's hoops past Babson, 72-57

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team was successful in its first-ever game as a top-10 team, as the seventh-ranked Judges opened up a 26-5 lead and never looked back, defeating Babson College, 72-57, in Red Auerbach Arena.

Brandeis (5-0) took advantage of sloppy play by the Beavers, who committed 10 turnovers on their first 13 possessions. At the same time, the Judges hit seven of their first nine from the floor overall and four of their first six from 3-point range. Senior guard Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) had eight points in the run, including two trifectas, to help establish their 21-point advantage with 8:48 remaining.

Babson (1-4) clawed their way back into the contest, however, scoring 10 of the last 12 points of the half to close within 34-22 at the break. The Beavers cut the lead to single digits on a traditional three-point play by Brian McDonald (Beverly, Mass.) to open the second stanza. Though the lead did get cut to seven points on a couple of occasions, the Judges were able to keep the visitors at bay, thanks mostly to senior guard Kwame Graves-Fulgham's (Amherst, Mass.) 13 second-half points.

For the game, Graves-Fulgham led all players with 18 points, hitting seven-of-nine from the field, including all three attempts from beyond the arc. Coppens was right behind with 16 points on six-of-11 from the field and three-of-six from downtown. Coppens also led all players with eight rebounds, one shy of his career high, four of which came on the offensive glass. Three other Brandeis players hasd eight points, while three different Judges tied for game-high honors with four assists. Graves-Fulgham also tied his career-best with five steals in the game. Overall, Brandeis converted 24 Babson turnovers into 27 points, outscoring the Beavers by a 27-12 margin in that category. The Judges hit 50 percent from the floor (25-50) for the fourth game in a row, including 53 percent from downtown (9-17).

Babson was paced by Brian MacDonald, who had 14 points and five rebounds. He hit five-of-11 from the field and all four free throw attempts. Senior guard Kyle McDonald (Wethersfield, Conn.) added 10 points, as he went two-for-five from the field with a trifecta and a five-for-five performance from the line. The Beavers outrebounded Brandeis, 25-24, and shot 49 percent from the field (18-37).

Brandeis is next in action on Saturday afternoon at Framingham State College at 3:00 p.m., a change from the originally published time of 1:00 p.m. on Brandeis's schedule. Babson travels to St. Louis to compete in Washington University's annual Lopata Classic this weekend.