DeLuca leads Brandeis men past Babson, 70-60

WELLESLEY, Mass. (taken from a Babson College press release) -- Graduate student captain Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) scored a game-high 24 points and junior captain Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass.) added 15 points and seven assists as the visiting Brandeis University Judges held on for a hard-fought 70-60 victory over host Babson College in a non-conference men's basketball contest at Staake Gymnasium on Tuesday night. With the win, Brandeis improved to 2-3 on the season, while the Beavers fell to 4-2.

DeLuca turned in a marvelous performance for the Judges, shooting 11-for-15 from the floor for 24 points while also adding eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals. Roberson hit just 2-of-7 from the field but connected on all 10 of his free throw attempts for 15 points while also leading all players with seven helpers. Senior captain Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass.) and junior captain Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass.) each added 10 points for Brandeis while combining to shoot 9-for-16 from the field. As a team, the Judges shot 56.5 percent (26-46) from the floor, including a 50.0 percent clip (6-12) from three-point range, while hitting 85.7 percent (12-14) from the line.

Babson was led by another strong performance from sophomore Shelton Ladson (New York, N.Y.), who poured in a team-high 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including a sparkling 5-for-7 clip from beyond the arc. Senior captain Zach Etten (Hollis, N.H.) added 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including a 5-for-8 clip from long range, while Ladson and senior Pat Belniak (Sutton, Mass.) each grabbed a team-best six rebounds. First-year Matt Florio (Skillman, N.J.) contributed some big baskets off the bench, finishing with seven points, and first-year Lambros Papalambros (Quincy, Mass.) dished out five assists to go with five points.

The Beavers led by as many as four twice in the first six minutes of play, but Olson and DeLuca combined for nine points during an 11-0 Brandeis run that gave the Judges a 21-14 lead with 11:29 remaining in the opening period. Babson would battle back to within one on two separate occasions late in the session and would eventually head into the break trailing by three at 30-27. DeLuca and Hollins led Brandeis with 11 and 10 points in the first half, respectively, while Etten paced the Beavers with nine.

After trailing for the final 13:20 of the first half and the first two and a half minutes of the second, Babson finally pulled even at 32-32 on a lay-up by Papalambros with 17:28 to go in the game. Two minutes later, first-year Kris Noonan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine) pulled down a huge offensive rebound in traffic and got the ball to Ladson, who drained one of his five trifectas from deep in the right corner to give the Beavers a 35-32 lead with 15:13 on the clock.

That would prove to be Babson's final advantage of the contest, as Brandeis erupted for a 16-0 run over the next four and a half minutes to essentially put the game out of reach. DeLuca keyed the barrage with nine points, including seven straight during a 90-second span, while Roberson netted five more as the Judges expanded their lead to 48-35. The Beavers would claw their way back to within six on two occasions, including a 56-50 margin following a Noonan lay-up with 3:01 to go, but Roberson sank six consecutive free throws over the next 70 seconds to help ice the eventual 70-60 Brandeis victory.

After a tough 0-3 start, the Judges will look to get back to the .500 mark with their third straight win when they host Rhode Island College in a non-conference game on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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