January 7, 2008

No. 2 men's hoops survives second OT game of season, 96-94, at Elms

CHICOPEE, Mass. (courtesy Elms College) -- Behind a career-high 37 points from senior Joe Coppens (Rockland, MA), including six 3-pointers, and a 20-point, 12-rebound performance from sophomore Terrell Hollins (Springfield, MA) the second-ranked Brandeis University men's basketball team defeated host Elms College, 96-94, in overtime to open the second semester. Sophomore guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, MA), making his first collegiate start, added 12 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with three seconds left in overtime. With the win, the Judges improved to 10-1 and matched the 1956-57 squad for the best 11-game start in school history.

With the host Blazers (8-3) trailing 88-86 and 1:29 remaining, sophomore point guard Juan Galdon drove past two defenders and converted a layup to tie the game at 88-all.

Hollins answered with a layup of his own 26 seconds later to reclaim the lead for Brandeis at 90-88. Elms guard Aswad Thomas responded with a fade-away 3-pointer - his third trifecta of the night - to put the Blazers up 91-90.

Roberson hit the first of two 3-pointers in the game with 16 seconds remaining to put the Judges back on top 93-91. Elms junior forward Joe Esile knocked down his seventh and final 3-pointer of the night with what appeared to be the game-winner to give Elms College a 94-93 lead. Roberson, however, provided the final heroics, as he swished in a 3-pointer with 3.0 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

The Blazers played valiantly despite having three players foul out. Elms battled back from a six-point deficit (71-65) and 6:56 remaining following a 15-4 run that gave the hosts an 80-75 lead with 47.0 seconds remaining in regulation.

Judge junior guard Kevin Olson (Rockport, MA) knocked down a 3-pointer and Hollins added a layup over the next 35 seconds to tie the game at 80-80. Galdon nearly won the game in regulation for the Blazers after converting the front-end of two free throws, but Hollins collected a court-length pass and knocked down one free throw to send the game to overtime.

The opening 20 minutes featured a total of 13 lead changes with neither team leading by more than four points. The Blazers converted 13 Brandeis turnovers into 14 points, but the visiting Judges shot 50-percent from both the field (14 of 28) and 3-point range (5 of 10) to take a slim 41-38 lead at intermission.

Coppens led all first half scorers with 13 points on 4 of 7 shooting, while Thomas countered for the Blazers with 10 points and four assists.

Elms College had three players all score 20-plus points in the losing effort. Galdon finished with 24 points, including 22 after halftime, Thomas added 21 points, a game-high 10 assists and four steals. Esile finished with 21 points - all on 7 of 9 shooting from 3-point range.

The Judges had three other players besides Coppens reach double figures.
Hollins finished with 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Roberson had 12 points, including 10 after halftime and senior forward Stephen Hill (Brighton, MA) finished with 10 points.