Greven and Emory shock Brandeis men, 64-63

Greven and Emory shock Brandeis men, 64-63

ATLANTA, Ga. - The Brandeis men's basketball team could not hang on to a five-point lead with 1:38 left in the contest, as the host Emory University Eagles scored the game's final six points, with rookie Alex Greven connecting on a jumper with seven seconds left to give the hosts a 64-63 University Athletic Association victory. With the loss, the Judges fall to 18-6, 8-5 in the UAA, while Emory improves to 15-9, 7-6 in the UAA, completing their first season sweep of the Judges since 2003-04.

The loss spoiled another tremendous performance from Brandeis senior Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow), who had game-highs with 16 points and 19 rebounds, tying a career-best. Hollins hit 8-of-13 from the field, but missed his only free throw, and also had four steals. His double-double was his UAA-leading 12th of the season and the 20th of his career.

Senior Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) added 12 points, sophomore guard Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School) had 11 off the bench, all in the second half, and senior guard John Weldon (Freehold, N.J./Freehold) added a career-high eight points. The Judges owned a 36-31 edge on the boards, including 13-7 on the offensive glass - six by Hollins - but a tough 53 percent showing from the free-throw line was costly (8-15).

Emory's Dan Curtin matched Hollins with 16 points on 7-of-12 with a 3-pointer and a free throw. Rookie Michael Friedberg had 13 points off the bench, hitting 4-of-5 from the floor with his only trifecta and 4-of-6 from the line. Sophomore Austin Claunch added 12 points and a game-high four assists. Julien Williams led the hosts with seven rebounds, two on the offensive glass. The Eagles outshot Brandeis, 44 percent (22-50) to 41 percent (24-59) and won the turnover battle, 12-11.

With the game tied at the half, 29-29, the Judges opened the second stanza by scring the first eight points in just less than two minutes to start the second. Hollins and sophomore Christian Yemga (Yaounde, Cameroon/Proctor Acad.) scored four points each in the run, including three field goals on offensive rebounds and the fourth coming on an assist by Hollins that gave the Judges a 37-29 lead. The Eagles rallied with eight of the next nine points, climbing within one at 38-37 on a Greven steal and outlet to Chad Hixon at the 14:43 mark. EU eventually tied the game when Alex Gulotta was fouled beyond the arc and hit 2-of-3 to knot the game at 39-39.

Kriskus gave the Judges the lead back with his first bucket of the game with just under 13 minutes remaining. After the teams traded a pair of fruitless possessions, Friedberg tied the game and Curtin hit a traditional three-point play  to give the Eagles their first lead of the second half, 44-41, with 9:44 left. The teams traded the lead on five-straight possessions, including three-consecutive trifectas. The last in the run, from Kriskus, sparked an 11-5 Judge run that put them ahead, 59-54, on Weldon's trifecta with exactly five minutes to go.

The Judges were able to maintain the lead for the next 3:24, but three missed free throws kept them from extending it further. Senior Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson) hit one of two with 1:36 left, putting the Judges up, 63-58, but that was the last point of the game for the Judges. Brandeis got at stop on the ensuing Emory possession, but were called for a foul away from the ball, sending EU's Anthony Fernandez to the line with 1:11 left. After Emory got a stop on a Yemga miss with 55 seconds left, Frieberg grabbed the rebound, and Claunch drew a foul near midcourt with 45 seconds left, hitting both foul shots to cut the lead to one.

On the next possession, the Judges worked the clock, but Small's 3-pointer was errant. Greven grabbed the rebound and pushed the pace, hitting the game-winning jumper with 5.9 seconds on the clock. It was Greven's first hoop of the game, but as he did in Waltham when he hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in a tie game, it was the decisive bucket. Brandeis called timeout to set up a play, but Roberson's driving jumper was off the mark and they were unable to get off a second attempt.