March 1, 2008

No. 6 Brandeis men top NYU, 56-44, for second-straight 20-win season

The Brandeis University men's basketball team had its top defense performance of the season, holding visiting New York University to a season-low 44 points in a 58-44 University Athletic Association victory. With the win, the Judges clinched back—to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1973-74 and '74-'75 seasons.

Brandeis (20-5, 10-4 UAA) also set a school record for UAA wins in a season with their 10th by allowing the lowest opponent's shooting percentage of the season, 33% (16-48). The Judges put four players in double figure in scoring. Sophomore Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass.) had 17 points in 17 minutes off the bench, including 13 points in the second half. Hollins hit seven-of-10 from the floor. Senior Kwame Graves-Fulgham (Amherst, Mass.) added 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds. He also finished with five assists - tied for game-high - to move within eight assists of becoming the Judges' all-time leader. Classmate Florian Rexhepi (Skopje, Macedonia) also reached double digits with 11 points, seven coming in the first half. The Judges won the battle of the boards, 39-32, and forced 15 turnovers while committing just 12.

NYU (15-10, 6-8 UAA) was paced by a game-high 22 points from junior John Mish (Holland, Pa.), who had 12 points in the first half and 10 in the second. Mish tied Graves-Fulgham for game-high honors with nine rebounds, while three Violets had three assists each. Sophomore forward Keith Jensen (San Diego, Calif.) had eight points and three steals.

The visitors jumped out to a 6-2 lead just over two-and-a-half minutes into the game. Brandeis responded by scoring the next nine points, five coming from Rexhepi, to take a lead they would never relinquish. Brandeis took a 14-8 lead on a Joe Coppens (Rockland, Mass.) 3-pointer with 12:43 left, and the lead bounced between one and six points for the rest of the half. NYU was within two, 23-21, with 3:34 left in the first before Brandeis scored the last two buckets of the half to take a 27-21 lead into the locker room. NYU's Mish led all scorers with 12 points in the first half, while Rexhepi had seven for the Judges. After Hollins scored the first four points of the second half to push the lead to 10 at 31-21, the Judges' lead never dropped below seven for the rest of the contest and stayed in double figures for the final 10:25.

With the win, Brandeis has defeated NYU five straight times. The Judges, ranked No. 3 in the Northeast region, will learn about their postseason fate on Monday afternoon. They are hoping for a second-straight NCAA tournament berth, with the possibility of hosting for the first time ever in Red Auerbach Arena.