February 12, 2010

No. 21 Brandeis men can't complete season sweep of No. 3 WashU

WALTHAM, Mass. - The 21st-ranked Brandeis University basketball team could not overcome the hot shooting of third-ranked Washington University, as the Judges fell, 92-82, in Red Auerbach Arena. Washington won its eighth in a row since losing to the Judges in January, improving to 19-2, 9-1 in the University Athletic Association, while Brandeis falls to 16-5, 6-4 in the UAA.

WashU graduate student Sean Wallis (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) and senior Aaron Thompson (Elida, Ohio/Elida) combined for 54 points and nine assists to lead the Bears. Wallis had a game- and season-high 29 points, including 17 in the second half. He shot 8-of-13 from the field, 5-of-8 from downtown and 8-of-10 from the line. Wallis also tied for game-high honors with seven assists. Thompson scored 25 points on 9-of-12 from the floor, 5-of-7 from deep and 2-of-4 from the charity stripe.

Two other Bear players reached double figures, as sophomore guard Dylan Richter (Lincolnshire, Ill/Adlai Stevenson) had 12 points off the bench and junior Spencer Gay (Dacula, ga./Mill Creek) added 10 and a team-high seven rebounds. Washington matched the season-high scored against Brandeis by connecting on 63 percent from the field (29-46), including a scorching 67 percent in the first half (18-27). The Bears also connected on 13 3-pointers at a 57 percent clip (13-23), improving from 50 percent in the first half (5-10) to 61.5 percent in the second (8-13).  

Brandeis fell despite 20 points and a game-high eight rebounds from senior Terrell Hollins (Springfield, Mass./Longmeadow). Hollins had 10 points in each half, but his streak of seven-straight games with a double-double was snapped. Hollins also had an assist, making him the 15th player in school history with 200 for his career and just the third to amass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 helpers.

Classmate Kenny Small (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) added 17 points, with 14 coming in the second stanza, and three steals. Sophomore guard Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School) had 15 points off the bench, all in the second half, including 11 points in one four-minute stretch. Senior guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson Acad.) had 10 points and tied Wallis for game-high honors with seven assists. Brandeis stayed in the game by forcing 22 WashU turnovers and converting them into 30 points.

Brandeis opened the game strong, opening on a 14-8 run over the first 4:54. A Roberson jumper established the Judges' six-point lead. WashU answered by scoring 12 of the game's next 14 points over a four-minute string, with Wallis and Thompson notching five points each in the run and Richter capping it with a put-back of his own miss at the 11:13 mark.

Brandeis got back within one on a traditional three-point play by Hollins. The Bears responded by scoring on seven-straight attempts from the field and three-of-four from the line, while the Judges missed seven-of-nine, to establish a 39-24 lead on a Thompson trifecta with 3:19 left in the first. WashU took a 44-32 lead into the locker room thanks to 15 first-half points from Thompson and 12 from Wallis. Hollins topped the Judges with 10 points.

After a Spencer Gay lay-up opened the second half to stretch the lead to 14, Brandeis answered with back-to-back buckets in the paint by senior Richard Magee (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) and Hollins to get within 10. The lead was still double figures four minutes in after a pair of Wallis foul shots made it 51-41. The Judges forced three turnovers on the next four WashU possessions to put together an 8-3 string that got them within five on two Small free throws. Brandeis had a chance to get closed after another stop, but could not convert, and the Bears made them pay with a trifecta from Cameron Smith (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) at the 13:15 mark, pushing the lead back to eight, 57-49.

Hughes and Roberson answered with consecutive jumpers that got Brandeis as close as they would come in the second half, four points, at 57-53, with 12:25 remaining. Unfortunately, the Judges went cold and WashU got to the line, hitting six straight from the charity stripe. The last two of those came on a technical foul assessed to the Brandeis bench, and the Bears hit a 3-pointer afterwards for a five-point possession. They connected from deep on their next two trips down the floor to go back ahead by 15, 72-57, on another Thompson bomb at the 9:17 mark.

At that point, Kriskus, who scored his first bucket of the game with just under 10 minutes remaining, heated up, sparking an 11-1 run. Kriskus answered Thompson's bomb and hit two more, cutting the lead back to five, 73-68, with 5:33 remaining. The Judges forced a turnover and had a chance to get within one possession, but came up short and could get no closer. They were within five again with 2:15 remaining, but Wallis connected from deep with 1:43 as the shot clock wound down to ice the contest for the Bears.

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