February 15, 2009

DeLuca surpasses 1,500 career point plateau as Judges knock off Rochester, 80-63

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Brandeis University graduate student Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) had 17 points today to become the seventh player in school history to reach the 1,500-point plateau as the Judges defeated host Rochester, 80-63, in University Athletic Association action. The Judges, who snapped a 13-game losing streak at UR in the process, improve to 14-8, 7-4 in the UAA, while the Yellowjackets fall to 15-7, 6-5 UAA.

DeLuca reached the milestone midway through the first half. With the Judges leading, 24-22, with just over nine minutes gone, the UAA's sixth-leading scorer tallied seven straight points to push the advantage to 31-22. He tied Bryan Lambert '05 for seventh place on the career scoring list with a 3-pointer at the 9:11 mark and passed him with a jumper 90 seconds later.

Rochester tied the game twice more before the intermission before two Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) free throws gave the visitors a 43-41 lead at the break. DeLuca had 11 points, six rebounds and three assists in the first half, offsetting a game-high 15 points by Rochester junior Mike Chmielowiec.

DeLuca and UR's Colin Cubit traded trifectas to open the second half, and the lead stood at 48-46 with three minutes gone. At that point, the Judges embarked on a 15-5 run over the next 3:23, connecting on six of their next seven shots to go ahead, 63-51. Junior reserve guard Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) was key in the stretch, with five points, two assists a steal and a rebound. Another Cubit trifecta halted momentum briefly, but the Judges scored the game's next 10 points, including seven in a row from senior sharpshooter Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass./Rockport). Olson connected on one of his three 3-pointers for the game and converted all three free throws when he was fouled beyond the arc to give Brandeis a 73-54 lead with 7:41 on the clock, a lead that would get no smaller than 15 points the rest of the way.

The Judges avenged a four-point loss to Rochester from earlier in the season by putting five players in double figures. DeLuca led the way with his 17 points on 6-of-15 from the floor, 3-of-5 from downtown and 2-of-2 from the line. He also had a game-high eight rebounds and a team- and season-high five assists. Olson finished with 16 points, connecting on 3-of-4 from deep to improve to 58.3 percent on the season (67-115), tops in all NCAA divisions. Junior guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson added 13 points, six in the first and seven in the second, to go with four assists, while Small and junior forward Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow) added 12 each. Small also had seven rebounds (four offensive) to tie a career high. The Judges outrebounded Rochester, 35-22, and held the hosts to just 42.9% shooting.

UR was paced by a game-high 18 points by Chmielowiec, but just three of those came in the second half as the Judges limited him to 1-of-7 shooting after the break. Cubit added 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting with three 3-pointers and a pair of free throws. Nate Novosel tallied nine points and a game-high three blocks for the ‘Jackets, and Max Kaplan led all players with seven assists. Rochester was unable to overcome 30.8 percent shooting in the second half (8-26), including 28.6% from 3-point range (4-14) after connecting on 56.5 percent overall (13-23) and 44.4% from downtown (4-9) in the first.

Brandeis is next in action next Friday night when they kick off their final homestand of the season against Emory University at 8:00 p.m. in another UAA contest.

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