January 30, 2009

Men's hoops falls to No. 2 Washington, 80-75

WALTHAM, Mass. - The Brandeis University men's basketball team saw its four-game University Athletic Association winning streak snapped tonight as the Judges fell to the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, Washington (Mo.) University, 80-75, in Red Auerbach Arena. The Judges fall to 11-6 with the loss, 4-2 in the UAA, while Washington improves to 16-1, 6-0 UAA.

Nine different players scored in double figures in the high-scoring contest, four for Brandeis and five for WashU, as both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field. Brandeis got a career-high 17 points off the bench from junior guard Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford), including a game-high 12 points in the first half. Junior guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson) added 16 points - 13 after the break - and a team-high eight assists. Junior forward Terrell Hollins had 14 points and six boards, while graduate student Steve DeLuca (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) had 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds. DeLuca moved into eighth place on the Judges' all-time scoring list with 1,450 points, passing John Perry '77 in the process. Brandeis shot 52.8 percent from the field (28-53) and owned a 28-23 rebounding advantage, but could not overcome an 11-8 deficit in turnovers that led to the visitors outscoring them, 16-8, in points off miscues.

Washington got a double-double performance from senior guard Sean Wallis (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North), who had 12 points and a game-high 11 assists. The Bears were paced by junior Aaron Thompson (Elida, Ohio/Elida), who led all scorers with 18 points, while junior Cameron Smith (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) tied his career-high with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the field. Senior Tyler Nading (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Thunder Ridge) with 12 points and rookie Alex Toth (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) with 11 also scored in double figures for the Bears, who shot 53.7 percent from the field in the victory. The 80 points they scored were the most allowed by the Judges this season.

The Bears hit five of their first six shots from the field, including a three-pointer in the corner by Smith, to jump out to an 11-7 lead early in the contest. Tied at 11-11, Washington U. built a double-digit advantage (22-12) by scoring 11 of the next 12 points. Sophomore Caleb Knepper (Newton, Ill./Newton) nailed a three-pointer and Toth scored four points to highlight the run.
 

Washington U. took a nine-point (35-26) lead after a lay-up by Toth with 3:41 left, but Brandeis senior Kevin Olson (Rockport, Mass./Rockport) nailed a three-pointer and junior Rich Magee (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) scored on a lay-up to trim the halftime lead to 37-33.

The Bears shot 51.9 percent (14-27) from the field in the opening 20 minutes, and hit all six free-throw attempts. Small had 12 points off the bench to lead Brandeis, which shot 54.5 percent (12-22) from the field but committed eight turnovers. Thompson and Smith had eight points apiece to lead the Bears in the first half.

Washington U. began the second half hitting 10 of its first 16 shots, but could not get away from the Judges, who connected on six in a row at one stretch to climb within four points at 47-43. The lead bounced between six and eight for the next six minutes. With the Bears leading 56-50, Thompson nailed a deep three-pointer and then hit a 15-footer to give WU a double-digit lead at 61-50 with 10:01 remaining. Brandeis, though, would not go away, as Olson nailed two triples and Roberson added a three to trim the lead to 63-59 with 7:44 left.

Washington U. led 71-63 with 4:29 left when the game was delayed for 30 minutes as a Brandeis dancer was injured during a routine during a timeout. The Bears came out a little tight after the delay and Brandeis responded. Roberson drained a three-pointer and Hollins made a lay-up as the Judges trimmed the advantage to 71-68.

Smith drained his career-best third-three pointer of the game in the corner on an assist from Wallis to halt the scoring run by the Judges and give Washington U. a 74-68 lead with 2:33 left. Brandeis got as close as three (74-71) when Hollins hit the first of two free throws, but he missed the second and Wallis made 4-of-4 free-throws down the stretch to seal the victory for the Bears.

Brandeis wraps up the first half of UAA action on Sunday at noon against the University of Chicago.

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