WALTHAM, Mass. - The Brandeis University men's basketball team dropped its third-straight game to start the 2008-09 season tonight, as the Judges' home opener was spoiled by UMass Dartmouth, 68-62.
The Judges (0-3) and Corsairs (4-0) traded the lead four times in the first seven minutes before the visitors got a 3-pointer by junior Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, Mass./Cambridge Rindge and Latin) to give them a 15-12 lead at the 12:48 mark. Brandeis eventually tied the game at 19-19 with 9:27 left on a lay-up by rookie reserve guard Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School), but the Corsairs answered with 16-2 run over the next seven minutes that put them ahead, 35-21. Half of their points in the run came from rookie forward David Riley (Boston, Mass./Charlestown), who hit a 3-pointer and a traditional three-point play on back-to-back possessions. Brandeis eventually cut the lead back to eight, with a long outlet from junior Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow) to classmate Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) at the buzzer trimming the deficit to 40-32. Riley led all players with 11 points at the break.
UMass Dartmouth scored the first four points after the intermission to go ahead, 44-32, on a Matt Walker (Brockton, Mass./Brockton) lay-up. The Judges responded with a 15-2 run over a span of 6:30, climbing within one at 47-46 on a jumper by grad student Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack). The Corsairs responded with the next seven points on a jumper by Shelton, a steal and lay-up by senior Reece Freeman (Cambridge, Mass./Cambridge Rindge and Latin) and a Walker trifecta with 9:54 left on the clock.
The lead was still eight after Freeman hit the front end of a one-and-one, but missed the second with 4:11 remaining. The Judges again cut the lead to one, 59-58, on a 3-pointer by Small with 2:23 remaining, but two UMD offensive rebounds later, Shelton got a put-back and was fouled. He converted and pushed the lead back to four, 62-58, with 1:52 left. Junior guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Acad.) converted a nice feed from Hollins to get back within two, 62-60. The Judges appeared to get a steal on the next possession, but Roberson could not corral a ball tipped into the backcourt by DeLuca. UMD junior Jeff Macchi (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) converted all six free-throw attempts down the stretch to ice the contest.
Brandeis had two scorers in double figures, led by DeLuca with 12 points, seven in the second half. Senior Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass./Rockport) added 10 points, connecting on two of the Judges' five 3-pointers. Hollins also had a fine all-around performance, with a game-highs of 11 rebounds and seven assists - six in the first half - for a new career high. The Judges outrebounded UMass Dartmouth, 43-26, outscoring the Corsairs, 34-18, in the paint.
Four UMD players scored in double figures. Macchi and Riley tied for game-high honors with 14 points each, while Freeman and Shelton had 13 each. Freeman also led the Corsairs with seven rebounds and three assists and tied for game-high honors with Macchi with three steals. The visitors turned 23 Brandeis turnovers into 25 points, outscoring the Judges by 17 in points-off-turnovers. They also used an 18-7 scoring advantage from the line.
Brandeis is next in action on Sunday afternoon when they play host to Tufts University, while UMass Dartmouth travels to Bridgewater State next Wednesday evening.