All five starters crack double figures as men's hoops downs Clark, 72-63
Brandeis (5-3) extended its winning streak to five games thanks to a balanced starting line-up. Grad student Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) and senior Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass./Rockport) led the way with 14 points each. Junior Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Acad.) added 13 points, while junior Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow) and sophomore Christian Yemga (Yaounde, Cameroon/Proctor Acad.) had 11 points each. DeLuca and Hollins tied for game-high honors with seven rebounds, while Roberson led all players with eight assists and three steals.
Clark (4-3) got a stellar performance off the bench from junior forward Jack Minister (Manchester, England/Proctor Acad.), who scored a game- and career-high 23 points with seven 3-pointers. Classmate Mark Alexander (Providence, R.I./Marianapolis Prep.) added 16 points and six assists, but no other Cougar player had more than eight points. Rookie forward Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, Mass./Tantasqua) led the visitors with seven rebounds.
The first eight minutes of the contest featured two ties and five lead changes, with Clark taking an 18-16 lead at the 12:12 mark on a lay-up by rookie center Tom Desautels (Manchester, Conn./East Catholic). The Judges responded with 13 unanswered points over the next 3:10 thanks to a trio of trifectas. Junior Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) gave the Judges the lead for good from behind the arc and followed it up with a fast-break lay-up. Yemga and Olson connected from deep, sandwiched around a DeLuca jumper, and the Judges took a 29-18 lead at the 9:02 mark.
The lead was as much as 15 before a late 3-ball from Minister cut the Brandeis lead to 45-33 at the break. The Judges connected on 58 percent from the field (18-31) and hit six of their first nine from downtown before finishing at 7-of-13 from distance. Olson, who connected on 4-of-5 deep balls in the first, led all players with 12 points at the break, while Yemga and Small had nine each. Minister scored 11 in the first as well.
Clark rallied early in the second half as the Judges missed four of their first five from the field and four-straight free throws. Meanwhile, Clark connected on 5-of-6 to climb within three, 47-44, following a Minister 3-pointer and a jumper by rookie Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass./Wachusett Regional). After a timeout by coach Brian Meehan with 14:33 on the clock, the Judges answered with six unanswered points, pushing the lead back to nine, 53-44, on a Roberson steal and lay-up with 11:45 remaining.
Clark would close within three again on a theft and conversion by Renshaw, but a Roberson trifecta, his only of the game, halted the momentum. Minister connected on three more 3-pointers and Alexander drove to the hoop for a couple of buckets in the final four minutes, but 10-for-10 shooting from the line for Brandeis - after a 4-for-14 start - kept the Cougars at bay.
Roberson finished with all of his 13 points in the second half to offset Minister's four 3-pointers. The Judges shot just 35 percent from the floor (7-20) after the break to finish at 49 percent for the game (25-51), while Clark connected on 44.8 percent (13-29) in the second to finish at 42.4 percent (25-59). The Judges used a 14-3 scoring edge from the free throw line, while turning 17 Cougar turnovers into 15 points. Clark was only able to convert 11 Brandeis miscues into seven points. The visitors did own a 33-29 rebounding edge, including 12-6 on the offensive glass, outscoring Brandeis, 14-5, in second-chance points.
Brandeis wraps up its first-semester schedule at home against Fitchburg State on Saturday at 1 p.m., while Clark is at Nichols College at the same time.