Kriskus, Hughes can't fend off NYU rally on Senior Day

Kriskus, Hughes can't fend off NYU rally on Senior Day
WALTHAM, Mass. – Despite 21 points from senior Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School) and seven points and six assists from classmate Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) in their final game, the Brandeis University men's basketball team could not hold off a furious rally by rival NYU, who erased an eight-point deficit with 5:50 to play to come away with a 65-63 University Athletic Association (UAA) victory. With the loss Brandeis closes its season at 13-12, 7-7 in the UAA, tied for fifth place in the league. NYU improves it at-large chances to the NCAA tournament with a 20-5 record, 9-5 in the UAA, good for second place in the league.

Brandeis looked to be in control when Hughes hit a 3-pointer as time ran out on the shot clock that made the score 59-49 with 8:06 on the clock. The edge was still eight at 61-53 on a pair of Kriskus free throws at the 5:50 mark. NYU scored the game's next eight points, however, with sophomore guard Ryan Tana (Belmont, Calif./Junipero Serra) connecting from downtown 1:38 later. Junior reserve Devin Karch (Bayville, N.Y./Locust Valley) hit a jumper at the 3:39 mark to make it a one-possession game at 61-58.

The Violets tied it up when local junior Kyle Stockmal (Watertown, Mass./Watertown) made a back-door cut and turned it into a traditional three-point play with 1:56 remaining. Kriskus answered at the other end by driving to the glass and banking it in for a 63-61 Brandeis lead. On the other end, NYU senior Andy Stein (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom) backed down his defender and put in a jump-hook to knot the game again with 1:17 to go. After the Violets got a stop as the clock ticked under a minute, the same play by Stein yielded the game-winning bucket with 33.0 seconds left.

Brandeis had a chance to tie again, but the Judges were unable to convert an alley-oop lob play that had worked earlier in the game. Sophomore center Youri Dascy (Fall River, Mass./St. Andrews School, R.I.) tied up Tana for the rebound with 12.2 second left. After back-to-back timeouts by Brandeis coach Brian Meehan and NYU's Joe Nesci, the Judges ran an isolation play for Hughes. The Violets were called for a reach-in foul with 2.7 seconds left in a one-and-one situation, but Hughes's first foul shot was off the mark, and the visitors pulled down the rebound as the horn sounded.

Brandeis was paced by Kriskus, who finished his career in 28th place on the Judges' all-time scoring list with 1,029 points. In addition to his 21 points – 13 in the first half, eight in the second – Kriskus also pulled down a game- and career-high 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season and fifth of his career. Hughes finished with seven points and six assists. Playing in his 109th career game, second-most all-time at Brandeis, he finished with 380 assists and 143 steals, both fourth on the Judges' career list.

Dascy was the only other Brandeis player to finish in double figures in scoring with 11 points, hitting 3-of-5 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line. Junior Jay Freeman (Dorchester, Mass./St. Mark's School) led all players with four steals. Brandeis, which closed the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 33-31 lead at the break, suffered its first loss of the season when leading at intermission.

NYU was led by Stein's 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half, including the crucial last two buckets. Karch added 14 off the bench, hitting 6-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-3 from the line, while Stockmal had 11 points despite struggling from 3—point range, where he hit just 1-of-7. Junior Max Wein (Purchase, N.Y./Solomon Schecter) had nine first-half points to keep his team in the game, while five of his team-high seven rebounds also came in the first half. The Violets hit 50% from the field for the game (25-50), including 52 percent in the second half (13-25), when the Judges hit just 34.5% (10-29).

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