November 18, 2008

No. 12 men's hoops comes from 11 back to down Bridgewater State, 84-79

WALTHAM, Mass. – The No. 12-ranked Brandeis University men's basketball team overcame an 11-point deficit with 9:22 left in regulation as the Judges defeated visiting Bridgewater State College, 84-79, as part of the Brandeis Tip-Off Classic.

Brandeis (2-0) outscored Bridgewater State (1-1), 24-6, over the last quarter of the game to escape with the win. The Bears led, 42-40, after a tight first half that featured four ties and six lead changes. Both teams shot better than 50 percent in the first half, but Bridgewater State came out even hotter in the second.

The Bears hit 12 of their first 14 from the floor, including five-for-five from 3-point range, coming out of the locker room. That enabled them to take a 71-60 lead, the largest of the game, after back-to-back jumpers by sophomore Tim Torney with 9:22 on the clock. After the Judges missed a 3-pointer on their next possession, the Bears missed a pair of free throws, slowing their hot hands and giving Brandeis sophomore Terrell Hollins a chance to shine.

Hollins hit a lay-up to cut the lead back under 10 points, then made a steal and an assist on a 3-pointer by junior guard Kevin Olson that brought the Judges within 71-65. After two Joe Coppens free throws, BSC answered with a lay-up by rookie guard Judah Jackson. Coppens found Hollins for a lay-up and then grabbed a missed 3-pointer to ignite a fast-break. Senior Kwame Graves-Fulgham missed the lay-up, but put back his own rebound, moving the Judges within 73-71 with 6:57 left in the contest.

The teams traded baskets on the next two possessions, then traded missed trifectas. After a hoop by sophomore Andre Roberson cut the lead to 77-75 with 4:02 on the clock, the Judges forced a turnover. Grave-Fulgham then fed Hollins for the game-tying lay-up with 3:28 on the clock.

On Bridgewater State's next possession, Coppens blocked Bear senior Tom Cuddihy. The visitors got the rebound and called a time-out, but were unable to take advantage. Grave-Fulgham made a steal and found Coppens open at the top of the circle for a 3-pointer, which he buried for an 80-77 lead. Hollins then stole the ball as BSC was coming across midcourt and converted the lay-up to give the hosts a 5-point bulge that they were able to maintain the rest of the way.

Hollins led a host of players in double figures with a career-high 26 points. He connected on 11-of-15 from the field with four free throws. He also pulled down a game-high 6 rebounds and had career-bests with 5 assists and 3 steals. Coppens was the game's second-high scorer with 24 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from long range and four-of-four from the line. Coppens also had 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Olson rounded out the Judges in double figures with a fine shooting performance, hitting 6-of-7 overall and 3-of-4 from long distance for 15 points. Graves-Fulgham had a fine all-around performance with 8 points, 5 rebounds and game-highs of 6 assists and 4 steals.

Bridgewater State was led by Cuddihy for the second game in a row, with 20 points. He had 13 of his team-high 20 points in the first half. For the game, Cuddihy finished shooting 8-of-16 from the field and 4-of-10 from 3-point distance. He also tied for team-high honors with 5 rebounds. Torney was the Bears' second-high scorer with 17 points off the bench, hitting 8-of-10. Rookie guard Cesar Oliveira had 14 points and junior guard Deryk Largesse hit all four of his trifectas for 12 points.