Hughes's late steal and free throws lead men's hoops past UMass Dartmouth, 71-69

WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University junior Tyrone Hughes (Roslindale, Mass./Taft School) stole a pass with 6.1 second left on the clock and hit the ensuing free throws that provided the margin of victory as the Judges defeated the visiting UMass Dartmouth Corsairs, 71-69, in Red Auerbach Arena tonight. With the win, the Judges snap a three-game losing skid against UMD and improve to 4-0 this season. The Corsairs fall to 1-2 on the campaign.

The last 10 minutes of the contest featured four lead changes and three ties. The Judges were ahead, by four at 65-61 with 3:40 on the clock after a Christian Yemga (Yaounde, Cameroon/Proctor Acad.) jumper, but that was the last two-possession edge of the contest. UMD junior guard Colin Burns (Chepachet, R.I./Ponaganset) answered with two free throws, and after a Brandeis turnover, junior guard Alex Klepadlo (Bernardston, Mass./Pioneer Valley Reg.) hit a fast-break lay-up to knot the game at 65-65 with 2:38 remaining.

On the ensuing possession, Yemga found Hughes for a back-door lay-up to put the Judges back ahead. After an empty possession, on each end, Corsair junior Paul Rose (Boston, Mass./No. Cambridge Catholic) was fouled by Hughes and hit both ends of one-and-one with 1:22 on the clock to knot the game again.

Brandeis answered with 53.9 second left when Yemga had a terrific spin move in the lane to get to the bucket and draw a foul, but missed the bonus, leaving the lead at 69-67. Rose answered at the other end with a pull-up jumped from along the baseline from eight feet with 28.8 left. After the inbounds, the Judges called timeout at the 24.2-second mark in the face of UMD's pressure.

After Brandeis got the ball over midcourt, Corsair senior Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, Mass./Newton North) picked the pocket of Judge rookie Anthony Trapasso (Sterling, Mass./St. Johns Prep). Trapasso and junior Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School) converged on Stephens as he went to the hoop and they knocked the ball out of his hands before Stephens could get off a shot. Corsairs' coach Brian Baptiste called a timeout to set a play, but Brandeis's Brian Meehan responded in kind to change up his defense.

The call worked out when Hughes intercepted Stephens' in-bounds pass to Rose, beating the offensive player to his spot on a lob. Rose intentionally fouled Hughes with 6.1 seconds remaining, and the junior hit both free throws for the game-winning points at 71-69. On the Judges' ensuing possession, Yemga was fouled with 4.9 left, but he missed the front end of the one-and-one. Burns grabbed the rebound for UMass Dartmouth and found Rose, whose 35-footer hit the front of the rim and the backboard, but it was too hard to go in the net, giving the Judges the victory.

Game-high scoring honors went to Brandeis rookie guard Derek Retos (No. Attleboro, Mass./Brimmer and May), who came off the bench to score a career-best 18 points, all on buckets from beyond the arc. Retos hit 3-of-4 from deep in the first half and 3-of-5 in the second. Retos outscored the entire UMass Dartmouth bench (13 points) as the Judges' reserves had 24 more points than their UMD counterparts. Kriskus and Yemga also both scored in double figures with 10 points each. Yemga also had a game-high seven boards, providing the Judges' rebounding margin, 37-30. Hughes's seven assists matched his career-high, set three other times. The Judges shot 50.9% from the field (28-55), including 55.6% in the first half (15-27). They built an eight-point lead, 39-31, as 11 different players scored points in the first 20 minutes.

UMass Dartmouth had four starters score in double figures, paced by 13 each from Kelpadlo and rookie Steve Handy (Oak Bluffs, Mass./Martha's Vineyard Regional). Both players had three 3-pointers on the night, helping the Corsairs to shoot 12-of-29 from downtown (41.4 percent). Burns finished with 12 points and Rose with 11 – all of which came in the second half. Stephens had seven points and a game-high four steals. The Corsairs battled back from their eight-point deficit behind thanks to a 21-14 edge in turnovers and 23-15 edge in points off those miscues. The Corsairs improved their shooting from 31.3 percent in the first half (10-32) to 45.2 percent in the second (14-31) to aid the rally as well.

Brandeis returns to action after Thanksgiving on Nov. 30 at home against Clark, while UMass Dartmouth takes on Bridgewater State on Dec. 1.