February 13, 2009

Men's hoops completes season sweep of No. 21 Carnegie Mellon, 66-63

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Brandeis University men's basketball team overcame a sluggish start tonight to knock off host Carnegie Mellon University, 66-63, in a University Athletic Association contest. The Judges completed the season sweep of the 21st-ranked Tartans thanks to 64.3 percent shooting from 3-point range (9-of-14), improving to 13-8 on the season, 6-4 in the UAA. CMU falls to 16-5, 6-4 UAA.

Brandeis started the game by missing eight of their first nine shots, scoring only on a trifecta from senior Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass./Rockport) in the first five minutes. Meanwhile, Carnegie Mellon senior Terrance Bouldin-Johnson (Tukwila, Wash./O'Dea) scored six early points as the Tartans claimed a 10-3 lead on a Corey O'Rourke (Merion, Pa/St. Joseph's Prep) jumper just under six minutes into the contest.

Brandeis grad student Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) answered with the Judges' second 3-pointer of the night, but the lead was still four points, 14-10, with 9:02 on the clock. At that point, junior guard Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) scored Brandeis's next seven points in a 62 second span, giving the Judges their first lead, 17-16, with 7:18 remaining, and they never trailed again.

After CMU's Shane Rife (Mercersburg, Pa./Buchanan) trimmed the lead to 22-20 with 3:18 before the break, seven more unanswered points in the next 90 seconds, including five from junior guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson), pushed the lead as large as nine at 31-22 with 1:58 left. CMU junior Ryan Einwag (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) scored the last two buckets of the half, including a buzzer-beater, to trim the Tartan deficit to 31-26.

After their slow start, Brandeis hit 12 of their final 20 shots to finish at 44.8% for the half (13-29), while CMU cooled down to 40.6% after hitting five of their first eight. The Judges also took advantage of seven first-half turnovers by the hosts. Bouldin-Johnson and DeLuca each scored eight points in the first.

After Einwag opened the second half with a jumper, the Brandeis lead bounced between two and five for the opening moments of the stanza. It was 41-38 after a Matthew Pettit lay-up for the Tartans with 13:30 remaining, but a Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow) traditional three-point play, followed by an Olson trifecta pushed the lead to nine, 47-38, with 12:34 on the clock. Pettit scored CMU's next two buckets, and a thunderous dunk by John Duhring (Round Hill, Va./St. Maria Goretti) got the hosts back within three at 47-44 midway through the period.

At that point, Roberson took over for the Judges again, scoring the game's next seven points. He got two from the line, two on a lay-up on a nice feed from junior Rich Magee (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) and three from beyond the arc, giving the Judges a 10-point cushion with 8:25 left. The Judges were able to maintain their two-possession lead until the final 15 seconds when Jack Anderson (Beaver Falls, Pa.) connected on CMU's first 3-pointer of the night in nine attempts to cut the lead to 65-63, but DeLuca hit one-of-two from the line on the other end and the Judges got a stop for the final margin.

Roberson led all players with 18 points to tie his season-best. He scored 13 in the second half, when he hit 5-of-8 from the field, with a 3-pointer and two free throws. Three other starters reached double figures for the Judges, as DeLuca finished with 13 points and Olson and Small had 11 a piece. Brandeis won despite being outrebounded, 39-27, for just the fifth time this season and by their largest margin. They overcame the deficit by making nine 3-pointers to CMU's one and committing a season-low seven turnovers while forcing 15 and converting them in to a 14-10 scoring edge. The Judges also had 15 assists on 24 baskets, with Hollins, Small and rookie reserve Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) each dishing three. Magee led the Judges with six rebounds.

Carnegie Mellon was paced by Einwag, who had 10 of his 16 points in the second half. Anderson finished with 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds, while Bouldin-Johnson finished with 10 points and three blocked shots. O'Rourke finished with a game-high six assists for the Tartans.

Brandeis is next in action on Sunday afternoon when they take on the University of Rochester at 12 noon in another UAA contest.

BOX SCORE