WALTHAM, Mass. - The 20th-ranked Brandeis men's basketball team bounced back from their worst 3-point shooting effort in a big way, connecting from beyond the arc on six consecutive possessions during a first-half stretch that saw the Judges pull away from Case Western Reserve University for a 70-52 University Athletic Association (UAA) victory in Red Auerbach Arena tonight. The win saw Brandeis improve to 13-3 overall, 4-2 in the UAA, while the Spartans fell to 9-8, 1-5 UAA.
Trailing early, 9-4, and missing their first four attempts from downtown - one game after going 1-for-17 in a loss to Emory - sophomore guard Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School) connected from the right elbow with 13:51 on the first-half clock to start the hot streak. Kriskus hit from downtown in the right corner on the next possession to give Brandeis a 10-9 lead.
After Case hit a free throw to knot the game, Kriskus missed his next 3-point shot. Judge senior forward Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow) grabbed the offensive rebound, found Kriskus in the same spot, and he buried the shot to give Brandeis a lead it wouldn't relinquish. After another Case freebie, senior John Weldon (Freehold, N.J./Freehold) buried a pair from long distance at left elbow. Sophomore Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) hit from the left corner to put the Judges ahead, 22-13 with 9:49 left and again at the 7:48 mark to five Brandeis a 12-point edge at 27-15, capping a 23-6 run. Senior Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) connected from deep in the final minute to give Brandeis eight first-half 3-pointers, as many as they had in all but one game this season, and a 33-22 halftime lead.
Kriskus led all players with nine points in the first half - all from downtown - while Hughes had eight and Small seven. Three Case players had six each, with sophomore Tom Summers (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) also grabbing eight first-half rebounds.
Case opened the second half with an 8-2 run over the first 2:22, cutting the lead to 35-30 on senior Bryan Erce's (Berwyn, Ill/Morton West) traditional three-point play. Brandeis answered with two Hollins free throws and another Hughes trifecta to get back to 40-30. The squads traded mini-runs, with the Judge lead standing at 54-47 on a jumper by Spartan junior Eric Duerr (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) with 7:04 remaining. At that point, Brandeis held Case without a field goal the rest of the way to win going away, 70-52.
Kriskus led all players with 20 points, hitting 6-of-11 from beyond the arc and 7-of-14 overall. Hollins had 13 points and 12 rebounds (five offensive) for his third-straight double-double. It was his sixth of the season and the 14th of his career. He scored 12 of his 13 points in the second half, and did not get his first field goal until nine minutes remained in the game, but connected on all four of his second-half attempts. With his 13 points, Hollins now needs 18 more to become Brandeis's 27th 1,000-point scorer. Hughes also reached double figures with 13 points, while senior Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson) led all players with five assists. The Judges finished up with a season-high 13 3-pointers and a season-best 46.4% from downtown (13-28), outscoring the Spartans by a 39-9 margin from beyond the arc.
Case was paced by Duerr, who had 16 points and nine rebounds. Junior Reid Anderson (Avon Lake, Ohio/St. Edward) added 12 points. Summers match Hollins with a double-double with 10 points and team-high 11 rebounds. The Spartans outscored Brandeis, 22-14, in the paint, but could not overcome an 18-8 deficit in points off turnovers or the Judges' 31-5 edge in bench points.
Brandeis is next in action against Carnegie Mellon on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. in another UAA contest, while Case heads to NYU for conference action the same day at noon.