LANCASTER, Pa. - The Brandeis University men's basketball team closed the first half on a 9-2 run and the Judges never trailed again, as they defeated the University of Scranton Royals, 74-60, in the first round of the NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament at Franklin and Marshall College today. The Judges will play the host Diplomats, 93-69 winners over Wesley College, in the second round tomorrow at 7 p.m.
In a first half that featured five ties and five lead changes, the Royals led by as many as seven points after opening the game on a 11-4 run over the first five minutes. The Judges scored eight unanswered points, four each by juniors Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Acad.) and Rich Magee (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock), to take a 12-11 edge with 11:42 left. The next seven minute were tight, with neither team going ahead by more than three points.
Scranton went ahead, 29-28, on a 3-pointer by senior Ryan FitzPatrick with 4:41 on the clock, but Brandeis junior Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) answered with a trifecta of his own, kicking off the key 9-2 run. Royal sophomore Zach Ashworth scored with 15 seconds left to cut the Brandeis lead to 34-31, but Small connected again from deep to beat the buzzer and give the Judges a 37-31 lead at the break. Small led all players with 13 points at intermission, while grad student Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) added 11. Eli Londo had eight points and five blocked shots to pace the Royals.
Just under four minutes into the second, the lead was cut to five points, 43-38, on a Paul Biagioli lay-up for U of S, when the Judges went on another key streak. Brandeis scored nine unanswered points, eight of which came from junior reserve forward Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow). Hollins' bucket with 11:03 on the clock gave Brandeis a 52-38 edge, and the lead wouldn't get below 11 points the rest of the way.
Brandeis put four players in double figures, led by Small's 19. He hit 6-of-11 from the field, 3-of-4 from 3-point range and all four free throws. DeLuca finished just shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, including five on the offensive glass, while also leading the Judges with three assists and two blocks. Hollins had 12 of his game-high 14 bench points in the second half, while Roberson tallied 10 points and a game-high three steals. The Judges outrebounded U of S, 38-23, including 17-5 on the offensive glass, leading to a 19-7 edge in second-chance points. Brandeis also converted 15 Scranton turnovers into 17 points, while committing just 10 miscues of their own.
For Scranton, Biagioli led all players with 22 points, 14 coming in the second half. He hit 7-of-11 from the floor overall, 2-of-4 from long range and 6-of-7 from the line. Londo and FitzPatrick had 10 points each and Ashworth finished with seven, but no other Royal player had more than three points. Scranton connected on 51 percent from the field (23-45), including 65 percent in the first half, but it wasn't enough to overcome a 40 percent shooting performance in the second (10-25), when they allowed Brandeis to hit on 51.9% (14-27).