WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team has earned a berth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England championship tournament. The Judges, who finished the 2010-11 regular season with a record of 16-9, are the sixth seed and will travel to third-seeded Keene State College (17-10) on Wednesday evening, March 2 at 7 p.m.
Brandeis, in its eighth season under head coach Brian Meehan, opened its season with 11 straight wins, the best start in school history. The Judges had two dramatic buzzer-beating wins in the streak, topping Clark University on Nov. 30, 67-65 in overtime thanks to a length-of-the-court drive by junior guard Tyrone Hughes of Dorchester, Mass., and a 61-59 win on Jan. 8 over New York University on a 3-pointer from the corner by rookie Derek Retos of No. Attleboro, Mass. That victory tied the Judges' previous record for best start at 10-0, and they defeated Bates College, 53-50, next time out to set the mark. The Judges, who were ranked as high as No. 13 in the nation, went 5-9 the rest of the way, however, finishing fifth in the University Athletic Association with a 6-8 conference mark.
The Judges are paced by rookie forward Youri Dascy of Fall River, Mass., who averages 10.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Dascy led the UAA in field-goal percentage, hitting 63.0% from the field. Senior Christian Yemga of Yaounde, Cameroon, the only senior on the squad, led the team in rebounding at 5.8 boards per game, while Hughes's 4.8 assists per game are third in the UAA. As a team, Brandeis is 34th nationally in Division III in 3-point percentage (38.2%) and 55th in scoring defense (63.9 ppg allowed).
Brandeis, which had been to the past four NCAA tournaments, will be making its first ECAC tournament appearance since 1995. The Judges also appeared in the ECAC tournament in 1974, 1991 and 1992, winning the '92 crown.
Keene State finished with a 17-10 record, 8-6 in the Little East Conference. The Owls boast the 10th-highest scoring average in the nation, pouring in 85.7 points per game. Sophomore Ryan Martin of Wayne, Maine averages 14.9 points per game and leads Division III in free-throw percentage (97.0%), while junior Derek D'Amours of Agawam, Mass., averages 13.8 ppg. Sophomore Rashad Wright of Agawam, Mass., tops KSC with 6.6 rebounds per game.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Brandeis and Keene State. The teams have three common opponents this season, with each posting wins over Tufts and Lasell. Against UMass-Dartmouth, Brandeis garnered a 71-69 victory in the fourth game of the season, while Keene State lost both regular-season meetings with the Corsairs before prevailing, 96-88 in overtime in the LEC conference tournament.
The rest Wednesday's ECAC quarterfinals feature top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State (19-9) taking on No. 8 Regis College (15-11); No. 2 seed Anna Maria College (18-9) playing host to No. 7 Mass. College of Liberal Arts (16-9); and No. 4 Albertus Magnus College (17-10) facing No. 5 Wentworth Institute of Technology (18-10). The winners will meet on Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, at the highest remaining seed.
For more information on Brandeis men's basketball, visit us on-line at http://www.brandeisjudges.com/sports/mbkb. Head shots and action shots are available on request.