February 1, 2008

No. 9 men's hoops snaps skid with 90-75 win at Case

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The backcourt duo of junior Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass.) and senior Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) combined for 44 points and 11 3-pointers tonight as the visiting Brandeis University men's basketball team defeated Case Western Reserve University, 90-75, in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest tonight.

Brandeis (13-4, 3-3 UAA), ranked No. 9 in the nation, snapped a three-game losing streak thanks to a season-high 12 trifectas and 52 percent shooting from beyond the arc (12-23). Olson led the way with a career- and game-high 25 points with six 3-pointers, while Coppens finished with 19 points and five long-range buckets. Sophomores and Springfield, Mass. natives Terrell Hollins and Andre Roberson also reached double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Roberson and senior Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) each tied for team-high honors with six assists, while senior Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.) led the Judges with seven rebounds. Brandeis won the turnover battle, forcing 14 while committing a season-low five, and outscoring Case, 17-5, off turnovers.

Case (7-10, 0-6 UAA) was paced by senior Mason Conrad, who had 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Junior center Rob Skuski added 14 points and eight boards. Kevin Herring added 14 points for the Spartans, while sophomore Brandon Bradford had 12 points and a game-high seven assists. Case shot 48.3 percent from the field (29-60), but just 28.6 percent from downtown (6-21) and 57.9 percent from the line (11-19).

Brandeis led by as many as 11 points in the first half at 21-10 on a Graves-Fulgham jumper with 12:20 left. The Spartans answered with a 12-2 run over the next six minutes to avoid the early blowout and took their first lead at 30-28 on a Skuski lay-up with 3:28 before the break. After an Olson trifecta returned the lead to the Judges, the teams traded buckets until Coppens hit a pair of long balls in the final 1:09 to give Brandeis a 39-36 lead at the break.

After a couple of hoops on both side early in the second half, Bradford connected from beyond the arc with 16:55 left to give the Spartans a 44-42 lead. The Judges responded with 10 straight points over the next three minutes, and never trailed again. Case got back within four points, 57-53, on a pair of Alex Hildebrand free throws with 11:15 remaining. The Brandeis long-range barrage took over from there, as the Judges connected from downtown on five of the next six possessions and began to pull away for the 15-point win.