Men's hoops has successful season opener, 73-51, at Lasell

Vytas Kriskus '12 (photo by SportsPix)

NEWTON, Mass.  (courtesy Lasell College sports information) - The Brandeis University men's basketball team had a successful start to the 2010-11 season, defeating local rival Lasell College, 73-51, in the Lasell Athletic Center.

The Judges were led by two career-first double-double performances notched by junior forward Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School) and rookie forward Alex Schmidt (Dublin, Ireland/Fork Union Military Acad.). Kriskus turned out a game-best 22 points and added 10 rebounds while Schmidt topped all competitors with 12 grabs off the glass while tallying 11 points in his collegiate debut.  Rookie guard Derek Retos (No. Attleboro, Mass./Brimmer and May School) also made an impact in his college opener, scoring on five-of-ten field goals, including four three-pointers.  Retos finished the contest with 16 points.

Lasell's junior forward Javon Williams (Mattapan, MA) lodged his 14th career double-double putting up 15 points and pulling down 10 boards in the defeat.  Sophomore guards Jordan Fuller (Oviedo, FL) and Sean Bertanza (Seymour, CT) also scored in double-figures with 12 and 10 points respectively. 

The teams were nearly even in shooting percentage (43.6%-40.0%) and total shots (24-55, 22-55), however, Brandeis held a distinct advantage in three-point field goals, connecting on 9-of-21 attempts, as opposed to Lasell's two-of-ten, which led to the marked margin of victory.  Brandeis also shot 80% from the free throw line as a team (16-20) while Lasell struggled, benefitting on only five-of-fourteen total chances.

Brandeis collected possession off the jump but it was Lasell that tallied the first points of the game after Bertanza made a quick steal and broke away for a layup. Brandeis went on to score the next 11 points over a five minute stretch on two consecutive threes by Kriskus, one from Retos, and a bucket from Schmidt.  The Judges' run was disrupted up by Fuller who picked off a pass and went coast-to-coast for a basket.

The visitors took a double-digit lead at the 12 minute mark when Schmidt connected on the tail end of two free throws. By 8:55, Lasell had cut the lead to just six after sophomore forward Philip DiMacco (New Orleans, LA) scored his first points, however Brandeis more than doubled their lead three minutes later after going on a 8-1 run.

With one second left in the first period, Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) was sent to the line for Brandeis in bonus situation.  Hughes was good for both shots, driving the Judges lead to 14 points.  Before time ran out in the half, Lasell inbounded the ball to Fuller who launched a bomb from three steps behind half court which found nothing but net.  Fuller's buzzer beater left the halftime score at 33-22

The hosts rallied for a comeback in the second half with an 11-3 run over a four and a half minute period which brought Lasell within two points, at 36-34.  Williams started the streak ten seconds into the half with a jumper in the paint, followed by a Fuller three-point play just twenty second later.  DiMacco joined in the scoring getting hit in the low post by Williams and Orlow capped the stretch with a trifecta off an inbounds play, assisted by Derrick Harper (Boston, MA).   Lasell was only twice interrupted during that time with one-of-two Hughes free throws and a Ben Bartoldus (Hillborough, N.H./Proctor Acad.) turn-around jumper.

With 13:09 left to play and just a four point deficit (40-36), Brandeis swung the momentum in their favor capitalizing on Lasell foul trouble which sent them to the line in bonus for six points before the ten minute mark.  The Judges went on to produce a 20-4 run which left Lasell trailing by no less than 19 through the final buzzer.

In their next contests, Brandeis (1-0) will host Newbury College on Friday, November 19th at 6:00 p.m. during the Brandeis Invitational while Lasell (0-1) will entertain New England regional powerhouse Rhode Island College on Saturday, November 20th at 3:00 p.m. in the Athletic Center.