March 5, 2010

Kriskus hits for career-high 29 to lead Brandeis men past St. Lawrence, 76-64, in NCAA opener

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Brandeis University sophomore guard Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School) came off the bench to score a career-high 29 points in 30 minutes of action tonight to lead the Judges past St. Lawrence University, 76-64, in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division III tournament. With the win, the Judges advance to face regional host St. John Fisher, who defeated Brooklyn College, 60-56, in the second round tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Kriskus eclipsed his previous career-high of 26 points by connecting on 9-of-14 from the field, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc, and all five free throws. His six trifectas matched a career-best, established four other times this season. Kriskus and the Judges hit 11-of-18 from 3-point range, exactly matching their previous season-high percentage from downtown, also set in Rochester, against UR in a University Athletic Conference contest on Feb. 19.

In addition to Kriskus, three other Judges scored in double figures. Senior guard Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford), the team's leading scorer who was kept out of the book in his previous contest, bounced back with 16 points. Small connected on 6-of-7 overall, including all four 3-point attempts. Senior forward Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow) added 12 points on 6-of-8 from the field. Junior forward Christian Yemga (Yaounde, Cameroon/Proctor Acad.) tied for game-high honors with seven rebounds, matching his season-high, while senior guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Acad.) had a game-high seven assists. Roberson's six points move him within three of the 1,000-point mark for his career.

Brandeis won despite committing more turnovers than their opponent for just the sixth time this season by shooting 56.6 percent from the field (30-53), their third-highest percentage of the season. They also won the battle of the boards, 29-22.

St. Lawrence was led by senior guard Andy Hoercher (Auburn, N.Y.), who had 26 points in the final game of his career. Hoercher went 8-of-12 from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, and 7-of-7 from the line. Sophomore Ralph Temgoua (Paris, France) added 14 points and three steals, while the tandem of sophomore Garrett Sharlow (Massena, N.Y.) and  senior Josh Sharlow (Norwood, N.Y.) had nine each. Garrett had a team-high seven rebounds, while Josh led the way with three assists. The Saints forced Brandeis into 17 turnovers while committing just 13 of their own, but they only got two points off their bench.

Meanwhile, Kriskus was leading the Judges to a 42-33 halftime lead by scoring 19 points over the first 20 minutes. He connected on 6-of-7 overall, 4-of-5 from deep and all three free throws. Small (11 points) and Hollins (10 points) also reached double digits in the first half. Down 17-14 with 10:50 left in the first half, the Judges scored 10 unanswered points in just under two minutes, including 3-balls from Small and Kriskus and two Hollins lay-ups, to take a 24-17 with 8:47 left before the break. Brandeis led by as many as 13 points in the first before taking their nine-point edge into the locker room.

The Judges opened the second half with a 12-3 run over the first 4:11 of the second to push the lead to 18 on a Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) deep ball. Brandeis never looked back, extending the lead to as large as 26 points before a 15-2 SLU run to end the contest - eight points coming from Hoecher - made the final 12-point deficit.

Brandeis improves to 20-6 on the season for their third 20-win campaign in the last four and their fourth-straight berth in the second round. St. Lawrence closes their campaign at 16-12, dropping their first-ever meeting with the Judges.

BOX SCORE