February 22, 2008

No. 6 men's hoops gets revenge at No. 4 WashU, 68-66

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The Brandeis University men's basketball team avenged one of their four losses tonight as the No. 6 ranked Judges defeated No. 4 Washington University, 68-66, in the WU Fieldhouse tonight. The Judges, who snapped Washington's 24-game home winning streak, improve to 19-4, 9-3 in the UAA, while the Bears fall to 18-5, 9-3. Both teams move into a three-way tie atop the conference with the University of Chicago, who the Judges will face on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

The game was as close as the score indicated in the first half, as neither team was able to establish a lead of more than four points, and that was an early 9-4 advantage by WashU. Brandeis took a 26-23 lead with 2:40 before the break on a put-back by sophomore Rich Magee, but the Bears closed on a 5-2 run, tying the game on two Tyler Nading free throws 56 seconds before the break.

After scoring the first four points of the second half, WashU maintained their lead with hot shooting from outside. The Judges climbed within on, 39-38, on a Kevin Olson 3-pointer, but the Bears connected from downtown on three of their next five possessions as part of a 10-4 run. A trifecta from sophomore Cameron Smith at the 12:56 mark gave WU their largest lead at 49-42. The Judges responded with an 11-4 run of their own thanks to long range shooting. Trifectas from sophomore Andre Roberson, senior Joe Coppens and Olson allowed the Judges to knot the score at 53-53 with 7:48 left.

WashU senior Danny O'Boyle scored the Bears' next five points, but the Judges answered to tie the game both times, the last an answering 3-pointer by Coppens. After WashU senior Troy Ruths committed a traveling violation on the next possession, Brandeis senior Stephen Hill (Brighton, Mass.) got a put-back on an offensive rebound to put the Judges ahead, 60-58, for the first time since the first half. Hill had the next Brandeis basket to extend the lead to four, but WashU's Tyler Nading had a lay-up and an assist to Ruths as the game was knotted again at 62-62 with 2:07 remaining.

After a Brandeis timeout, the Judges worked the ball inside out, eventually getting the ball to sophomore Terrell Hollins in the paint. Hollins kicked it out Roberson at the top of the key, and he drained his second trifecta of the game with 1:40 left to give Brandeis a lead it wouldn't relinquish. After a Brandeis got a stop, Coppens missed from downtown with the shot clock off, but Hill skied for the rebound and got the ball to Roberson, who hit two free throws to give the Judges a five-point lead.

Rookie Ross Kelley scored on the next WashU possession and Roberson missed a one-and-one opportunity, allowing the Bears to get within one, 67-66, on a Ruth lay-in with less than eight seconds remaining. The Judges made a heads-up play, throwing the ball into the frontcourt and allowing Roberson to run it down and burn six seconds off the clock. He hit his next free throw and missed the second, but the Bears were unable to get a shot off, giving Brandeis the two-point victory.

The Judges were led by Coppens, who scored a game-high 17 points, including five-of-eight from 3-point range. Coppens scored 11 points in the second half. Olson and Roberson both finished with 13 points each. Eleven of Roberson's points came after the break, including six in the final two minutes. Hill led all players with eight rebounds, as the Judges outboarded WashU, 33-21, including 13-5 on the offensive glass.