NEWTON, Mass. -- The ninth-ranked Brandeis men's basketball team put four players in double figures, including 16 by grad student Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H.) in his return after a season missed to injury, but it wasn't enough to offset a game-high 23 points by Lasell College senior Junior Sainval (Miami, Fla.), who connected on seven 3-pointers to lead the Lasers to a 68-66 upset. The game was a rematch of a 2008 NCAA tournament first-round contest won by the Judges. Brandeis had four attempts to tie the game in the final 30 seconds, but were unable to force the overtime session.
Brandeis (0-1) got 16 points and six boards from DeLuca in his return, including 13 points in the second half. Senior Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass.) tallied nine of his 14 points in the second as well, including a 3-pointer that gave the Judges a 40-37 lead four minutes into the stanza after they trailed, 33-25, at the break. Junior guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass.) had 12 points, while rookie guard Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass.) had 10 points in his collegiate debut. Junior Terrell Hollins tied for game-high honors with eight rebounds.
Lasell's Sainval scored 21 of his 23 points from beyond the arc, connecting on 7-of-10 from downtown. Classmate Brad Caravoulias (Dracut, Mass.) was the only other Lasell player in double figures with 10 points, including two 3-pointers, while junior Charles Horton (Worcester, Mass.) had nine points on 3-of-6 from downtown. Overall, the Lasers connected on 12-of-23 from range (52.2%). Senior Jose Guitan (Miami, Fla.) matched Hollins with eight board, while rookie Kevin Richard (New Orleans, La.) had a game-high seven assists in his first college contest. The Lasers were able to withstand Brandeis's second-half charge by shooting 14-of-23 (60.9%) from the field in the stanza, including 5-of-9 from downtown.
Brandeis scored the game's first five points as the game got off to a sluggish start. The Lasers took the lead with back-to-back trifectas from Caravoulias and Sanival, and maintained the advantage through the break. The Lasers' seven first-half 3-pointers offset Brandeis's 10-2 scoring advantage from the free-throw line, giving the hosts a 33-25 lead at the break.
The Judges opened the second half on a 15-4 run over the first four minutes, tying the game on a traditional three-point play by sophomore Christian Yemga (Yaounde, Cameroon) and retaking the lead on Olson's bucket from downtown. Lasell answered with 10 answered points of their own, including a pair of trifectas from Sanival that gave them a 47-40 lead with 13:27 left. The Judges closed within two, 49-47, again on another hoop-and-harm, this time by Hughes at the 11:48 mark, but another bomb by Sanival gave momentum back to the hosts. Lasell took their biggest lead, 56-47, with 9:50 on the clock on a lay-up by senior Kevin Fallon (Manasguam, N.J.).
Brandeis didn't go away, scoring the next eight points to climb within 56-55. The Judges could have gone ahead, but missed three-of-four free throws while within one on an otherwise outstanding night from the line. Horton's third 3-pointer extended the lead to four, but Olson answered on the other end to get Brandeis back within one. A lay-up by Guitan and Sainval's seventh trifecta put the Lasers ahead, 64-58, with 4:22 on the clock. The teams traded buckets on the next two possessions, but a steal by Hughes led to a fast-break lay-up by Roberson and a DeLuca jumper got it back to 66-64, Lasell, with 2:01 left. The Lasers' Corey Godfrey (Cambridge, Mass.) hit his only hoop of the game on the next possession to put the hosts up four with 1:43 on the clock. Brandeis missed a jumper on their next possession, but were able to force Lasell into a shot-clock violation on their end of the court. Roberson connected on two free throws to get the game back within 68-66.
Following a Brandeis foul near midcourt, the Judges were able to force Lasell into a backcourt violation to get possession of the ball back with under 30 seconds to go. The Judges missed on two toughly defended jumpers by DeLuca with about 17 seconds left and by Roberson with just over three seconds left. Both times, Brandeis got the ensuing rebound, once on a tie-up by Hollins and another on a ball knocked out of bounds by Lasell. With 2.8 seconds on the clock, the Judges executed a nice in-bounds play, but the iron was unkind to Roberson's initial shot, and Hollins' put-back attempt was wild, ending the game.