February 8, 2008

No. 10 Judges improve to 2-1 in OT this season with 90-85 comeback win over Emory

WALTHAM, Mass. – Five different Brandeis University men's basketball players scored in double figures tonight as the 10th-ranked Judges rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat visiting Emory University, 90-85 in overtime, in a UAA contest.

Brandeis (15-4, 5-3 UAA) was paced by a game-high 23 points by senior guard Joe Coppens, 20 coming in the second half and overtime. Sophomore forward Terrell Hollins had 17 points, while junior guard Kevin Olson had 11. Senior Kwame Graves-Fuglham and sophomore Andre Roberson had 10 points each, with Roberson scoring eight of his points in the final 5:04 of the contest. Senior Stephen Hill led the Judges with six rebounds and classmate Florian Rexhepi had five assists.

Emory (10-9, 3-5 UAA) also put five players in double figures, paced by 19 points from senior Spiros Ferderigos, 12 coming in the second half. Rookie Julien Willams had 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Senior Seth Kramer finished with 14 points, while junior Brian Giometti came off the bench with 12 points. Anthony Fernandez rounded out the Eagles' double-figure scorers with 10 points.

Brandeis scored the first bucket of the game, but Emory scored the next 11 points to take an 11-2 lead after just three minutes of play. The Judges climbed within one on a trifecta from Olson at the 10:15 mark that made the score 19-18 and finally pulled back even, 25-25 on a Coppens long ball with 5:18 on the clock. Emory bounced back, closing on a 13-3 run that was capped when Ferderigos banked a shot from downtown that gave the visitors a 38-28 lead headed to the half.

A traditional three-point play to open the second half gave Emory a 13-point lead, their biggest of the game, at 41-28. After the teams traded hoops leaving Emory with a 45-32 lead 2:35 in, the Judges scored 11 straight points over the next 4 minutes. A Coppens lay-up put Brandeis within 45-43, but Ferderigos hit twice more from long range to stay Brandeis's momentum and push the lead back to eight, 53-45, with 11:47 left.

The lead was still eight, 59-51, after a Williams three with 8:28 remaining when the Judges got back in the game again. Thanks a Graves-Fulgham three-ball and four free throws by Hollins and Hill, the lead was back to one, 59-58, with 7:08 left. Brandeis was unable to reclaim the lead until just over three minutes remaining. After Hollins hit two foul shots to knot the game at 68-68, Coppens stole the in-bounds pass and stepped behind the arc to give Brandeis the lead at 71-68.

Brandeis was unable to pull away, however, and Ferderigos hit a pair of foul shots with 31 seconds left to make the lead 75-74. The Emory pressure forced a Brandeis turnover, and after working the ball around the perimeter, Giometti looked to be the hero when he connected from downtown with 0:22 left, giving Emory a 77-75 lead.

As Brandeis tried to get a game-tying or wining shot, the ball found its way into Roberson's hands. He went up for a 3-pointer that looked to be shot, but was fouled by Giometti on the way down with 0:04 on the clock. Roberson connected on the first two free throws to tie the game but missed the third, forcing OT.

Brandeis never trailed in the extra session, scoring seven of the first nine points, including a jumper by Olson and a driving bucket to the hoop by Roberson. Those were Brandeis's only two field goals of OT, but they connected on nine-of-12 from the free throw line to put the game away.