January 25, 2008

Chicago stuns No. 2 men's basketball. 79-77

WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior guard Matt Corning converted a key 4-point play as part of a 27-point performance to lead the visiting University of Chicago Maroons to an upset win over No. 2 ranked Brandeis University, 79-77, in a UAA contest in Auerbach Arena tonight. Corning's big night offset another 27-point performance, by Judge senior guard Joe Coppens.

Brandeis (12-3, 2-2 UAA) scored the game's first 9 points and led for much of the first half. Chicago (10-5, 3-1 UAA) claimed their first lead on a 3-pointer by sophomore forward John Kinsella with 1:42 left in the stanza. Brandeis sophomore Rich Magee answered with a back-door lay-up with 1:22 left to give the Judges a 33-32 lead at the break. The Judges were led by 10 points from sophomore Terrell Hollins, while Maroon senior Nate Hainje had 12 at the intermission.

UC opened the second half on a 16-9 run over the first 5:11 to claim a 6-point lead on Kinsella's second long-distance ball of the game. The lead was still six, 51-45, after a traditional three-point play by junior forward Tom Watson with 12:26 left.

At that point, Coppens caught fire. The senior guard scored 12 unanswered points over the next 1:58. He connected on three straight 3-pointers, and capped the run by hitting all his free throws after getting fouled. Sophomore guard Andre Roberson hit one free throw after a Brandeis steal to give the Judges a 58-51 lead. The advantage was still six points with 8:15 to go after a Hollins put-back, but UC would not go away.

The Maroons got within one a couple of times over the next 3 minutes, but another old-fashioned 3-point play by senior Stephen Hill put the Judges up four, 67-63 with 5:27 left. At that point, Corning, who picked up his fourth foul early in the half and was being substituted for on the defensive end of the floor, scored seven straight points himself. Corning connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, including the 4-point play that gave the visitors the lead for good, 70-67, with 4:29 left.

Brandeis got within three on a Hill jumper, but UC's Adam Machones canned a trifecta to get the lead back to six. Coppens hit a 3-pointer with 0:54 left to get Brandeis back within 77-74, and after the Judges got a steal, they called timeout with 0:35 left. With Coppens guarded, junior Kevin Olson got an open look with 0:22 left, but was just off the mark. Corning hit the next two free throws to push the lead to 79-74 with 0:21, but Roberson connected from deep to cut the deficit to two. Chicago sophomore Jake Pancratz missed the next two Maroon free throws, but the Judges could not execute a long-distance play as UC held on for the win.

Brandeis finished with 3 players in double figures, led by Coppens' 27, 19 of which came in the second half. He hit eight-of-12 from the field, including six-of-seven from beyond the arc, and five-of-five from the line. Hollins finished with 18 points on 7-of-14 from the floor and four-of-four from the line. He also led the Judges with seven rebounds and four assists. Hill finished with 12 points, connecting on 5-of-7 from the field with two free throws. Brandeis hit 52.8 percent from the field (28-53) for the game and 50 percent from beyond the arc (8-16).

Corning scored 18 of his game-high 27 in the second half for the Maroons. He hit 9-of-16 from the field, 4-of-5from downtown and 5-of-6 from the line. Hainje recorded a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, five on the offensive glass.