February 15, 2008

Olson's 20 leads No. 10 Brandeis men past No. 6 Rochester, 68-64

WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University junior guard Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass.) scored a game-high 20 points tonight and the 10th-ranked Judges hit their free throws down the stretch to defeat the No. 6 University of Rochester Yellowjackets, 68-64, in a UAA contest in Red Auerbach Arena. In avenging their loss earlier in the season, Brandeis improves to 17-4, 7-3 UAA, and moves one game ahead of UR (17-4, 6-4 UAA) in the UAA standings.

The contest got off to a slow start, as Brandeis owned a 16-10 lead after more than 12 minutes of play. The lid came off the Judges' net first, as an Olson trifecta at the 7:05 mark sparked a 7-0 run that put the hosts ahead, 23-10, with 5:35 left before the break. After a Rochester time-out, the Yellowjackets came back, and a 3-pointer by senior guard Rob Dominiak (and a traditional three-point play by classmate forward Uche Ndubizu cut the lead to 27-24 with 1:34 left before the break. Brandeis's last two points of the half came when Rochester knocked the ball into their own basket on the next possession. UR scored the final four points of the stanza from the line, including one after a technical foul was called on Brandeis coach Brian Meehan. Olson and Dominiak led all players with 10 points in the first.

Brandeis got off to a quick start in the second half, opening up on a 10-4 run, taking a 39-32 lead on a Joe Coppens jumper with four minutes gone. The Yellowjackets responded with an 11-3 run of their own, taking their first lead since 2-0 on a Jeff Juron Glenville, N.Y.) 3-pointer at the 11:24 mark. An Olson long ball gave the lead back to the hosts, but Juron answered, tying the game at 49-49 with 8:12 left.

After Olson and sophomore forward Terrell Hollins scored the next two hoops for Brandeis, Rochester rookie reserve guard Mike Labanowski connected from beyond the arc and on a fast-break lay-up. That gave UR a 54-53 lead with 5:50 remaining. The Judges scored the next six points this time, going up 59-54 with 4:13 on the clock on a Hollins lay-in on an Olson assist.

Rochester wouldn't go away, as Ndubizu scored on UR's next possession and Dominiak hit a jumper while being fouled from behind. He hit the free throw with 3:14 left to knot the game at 59-59. Olson answered on a lay-in following sophomore Andre Roberson's penetration, while the 'Jackets couldn't convert on three shots on the other end. Roberson scored on a jumper with 1:26 left on the next trip to expand the lead to four. The Judges connected on five of their six free throws in the last 1:06, while Rochester hit just three of seven in that stretch, including one-of-five by Ndubizu.

Olson led all scorers with 20 points, connecting on eight-of-13 from the field, including three-of-four from downtown. Coppens was the only other Brandeis player in double figures with 10 points. Senior Kwame Graves-Fuglham had a game-high eight assists, moving him within 23 of career-leader Stanley House '89. Hollins and senior Stephen Hill each had a team-high six rebounds. Brandeis committed just six turnovers, their second-lowest total of the season, while forcing 11. They also outshot Rochester from the free-throw line, 77% (13-17) to 52% (12-23).