February 5, 2012

Brandeis Men's basketball stuns Carnegie Mellon at the buzzer for a 77-76 overtime win

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – For the second time this season and the third time in his career, Brandeis University men's basketball senior guard Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) hit a shot as time expired, today connecting on an off-balance jumper to give the Judges a 77-76 overtime victory over University Athletic Association (UAA) rival Carnegie Mellon University in Skibo Gymnasium. With the win, Brandeis improves to 12-8 overall, 6-3 in the UAA, while CMU falls to 7-13, 2-7 UAA.

Earlier this season on January 22, Hughes forced overtime with a buzzer-beating offensive rebound against the University of Chicago in UAA action as the Judges went on to win 97-89. His first buzzer-beater came on Nov. 30, 2010, when he drove the length of the floor for a lay-up to defeat Clark University, 67-65, also in OT. Today, after CMU missed a pair of free throws with less than nine second left in the extra session, Hughes dribbled into the offensive zone and got off a jump shot that he banked home as the lights went off on the backboard to give the Judges the win. Brandeis improved to 4-0 in overtime this season and has now won nine in a row when playing more than 40 minutes.

Today's game was a tale of two halves in regulation. The Judges led by as many as 13 and were ahead 36-27 at the first intermission thanks to 65% shooting from the floor (15-23) and 63% from 3-point range (5-8), while holding the Tartans to 34% (11-32) overall and 30% from deep (3-10). In the second, the hosts responded with a 62%-35% shooting advantage (13-21 to 10-29). CMU opened on a 15-3 run to take their first lead of the contest at 42-41 with 12:47 left in regulation. They expanded that lead to six with 6:19 left in regulation on a Christian Manoli lay-up that made it 58-52. The edge was still six at 64-58 with 2:48 to go on a John Duhring bucket.

Brandeis answered with a key exchange on their next possession, as junior guard Jay Freeman (Dorchester, Mass./St. Mark's School) hit the first of three free throws, but rebounded his own miss and out it back to cut the deficit to three. CMU hit one-of-two from the line on their next trip, but senior forward Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness (N.H.) School) made it a one-possession game with a pair from the charity stripe with 1:45 left. Kriskus gave the Judges a 66-65 lead with a traditional three-point play with 46 ticks on the clock. Carnegie Mellon's Joe Kromka got back to the line with 18 seconds left in regulation, but only hit one of his shots, knotting the game at 66. Kromka also blocked a Freeman shot with less than three seconds left, while Manoli's attempted game-winner also came up short, forcing overtime.

The OT featured two ties and two lead changes. Despite losing Kriskus and sophomore Ben Bartoldus (Hillsborough, N.H./Proctor Acad.) with five fouls each, the Judges were able to take advantage of poor CMU free-throw shooting to hang around. The Tartans, who were 12-of-14 from the line in regulation, hit just 5-of-10 in the last five minutes. CMU owned a 76-73 lead with 57 seconds left when Sean Brophy had the Tartans' only two-point trip to the line. Freeman cut the lead to 76-75 on a lay-up with 37 seconds remaining. On the next possession, the Judges fouled Manoli with nine seconds left, and he missed both attempts, with sophomore Alex Stoyle (Goffstown, N.H./Tilton School) grabbing the rebound to set up Hughes's heroics.

For the game, Brandeis put four players in double figures in scoring. Kriskus led the team with 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds. He hit 5-of-9 from the field with a 3-pointer and 5-of-5 from the line. Freeman added 12 points off the bench, outscoring all the CMU reserves by himself as Brandeis owned a 27-11 edge in bench scoring. Hughes and sophomore guard Derek Retos (No. Attleboro, Mass./Brimmer and May School) each score 11 points, with Retos hitting 3-of-6 from downtown and Hughes tying for game-high honors with three assists. Hughes also played all 45 minutes, marking the fifth time this season and ninth time in his career he has played at least 40 minutes in a game.

CMU had three starters finish in double figures, led by Duhring with 21 points while Manoli finished with 17 and sophomore guard Asad Meghani rounded out the trio with 13. Kromka led the Tartans with eight rebounds while Brophy was second with seven. Kromka also led the team with a career-high four blocks and Brophy led the team with a season-high three steals.

The Judges continue their UAA road trip with a matchup against the University of Rochester on Friday, February 10th. Carnegie Mellon also hits the road for a UAA contest at the University of Chicago on the same night.