No. 12 Men's hoops rallies past Kenyon, 70-61, in season opener

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team outscored visiting Kenyon College 14-4 over a four-minute span in the second half tonight as the No. 12-ranked Judges defeated the Lords, 70-61, in the Brandeis Tip-Off Tournament opener. In the nightcap, four Bridgewater State College starters scored in double figures to lead the Bears past Tufts, 96-70.

Brandeis (1-0) and Kenyon (0-1) played a back-and-forth first half that featured four ties and six lead changes. Kenyon scored the first two buckets of the game for their biggest lead, while the Judges were ahead by as many as five, 17-12, with 9:13 left to play. A 3-pointer by junior forward Bryan Yelvington (Arlington Heights, Ill.) put the Lords back up with 2:06 to play in the half and the visitors took a 29-28 lead into the locker room. Yelvington led all scorers with 12 points in the stanza.

In the second half, Kenyon still maintained the one-point lead after a jumper by junior guard Korey Haddox (Zanesville, Ohio), 37-36. It was at that point that Brandeis went on the decisive run. Senior guard Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) found classmate Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.), who the go-ahead bucket and drew a foul to put the Judges ahead for good, 39-37. Brandeis hit five of their next eight shots over the next five minutes to take a 50-41 lead, while the Lords missed seven-of-eight from the floor with five turnovers. KC got within four points at 10:05, but were unable to get any closer, as Brandeis shot 54 percent from the floor (15-28).

Brandeis had six players with eight or more points, paced by 14 points and six rebounds from senior guard Kwame Graves Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.), who hit four-of-nine from the field with a pair of 3-pointers. He also had five assists. Coppens and Rexhepi each scored 10 points, while sophomore guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass.) had nine and sophomore forward Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass.) and senior forward Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) each had eight. Senior forward Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.) tied Graves-Fulgham for team-high rebounding honors with six, while Rexhepi had a game-high six assists. The Judges forced 23 turnovers while committing just 14. They also had 20 assists on 26 baskets.

Kenyon was led by Yelvington's game-highs of 21 points and nine rebounds. He hit seven-of-14 from the floor, three-of-six from downtown and four-of-four from the line. Sophomore forward Dave Knapke (Westerville, Ohio) and rookie reserve guard J.T. Knight (Ann Arbor, Mich.) each contributed 13 points, but no other Lord player had more than five.