Retos scores 28, including game-winner, in 77-76 OT thriller over Becker

Derek Retos '14 (photo by SportsPix)
Derek Retos '14 (photo by SportsPix)

WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore guard Derek Retos (No. Attleboro, Mass./No. Attleboro) scored a career-high 28 points, including the game-winning bucket with 16.8 seconds left in overtime, as the host Brandeis University men's basketball team defeated visiting Becker College, 77-76, in Red Auerbach Arena today. With the win, the Judges improve to 2-1 on the season, while the Hawks fall to 0-2.

Retos hit a career-high eight 3-pointers, connecting on 8-of-13 from downtown, but his game-winning lay-in in transition was his only 2-point bucket of the day. He bested his previous career high by 10 points (18 vs. UMass Dartmouth on Nov. 23, 2010). The eight 3-pointers in a game were the most by a Brandeis player since 2004.

Brandeis pulled out the win by scoring the game's last four points. Trailing, 76-73 after two free throws by Becker's Terrance Favors (Boston, Mass./Bedford) with 37 seconds left, Brandeis sophomore Connor Arnold (Andover, Mass./Deerfield Acad.) scored his first bucket of the game on a nice drive and feed from classmate Ben Bartoldus (Hillsborough, N.H./Proctor Acad.), cutting the lead to 76-75 with 24 seconds remaining.

Brandeis head coach Brian Meehan immediately called his final timeout to set up the press. The Judges forced the ball where they wanted it, into the hands of Becker sophomore Chris Canady (Newark, N.J./St. Mary's), whom they fouled immediately. Canady missed both free throws, with the coming hard off the rim to the free throw line. Canady momentarily gained possession as bodies flew, but Brandeis senior Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) was able to strip it and make a break to the net along with Retos, who banked the lay-in off the glass with 16 seconds left.

Becker wasn't done, as the Hawks pushed the ball up the floor and managed to get off three quality looks at the basket. Favors' initial jumper from the left side skidded off the rim, but classmate Rajai Leggett (New Haven, Conn./Sheehan) put the offensive rebound back, but not strong enough. Bartoldus swatted the ensuing rebound to Hughes at the sideline, but Canady was on the spot to poke it away. The ball ended up in the hands of sophomore Tyler Roberson (Irvington, N.J./St. Marys) beyond the arc, but his final trifecta at the buzzer was too strong.

Brandeis led for much of the first half, taking a 42-31 lead into the locker room thanks to 14 points each from Retos – who hit 4-of-5 from deep - and sophomore center Youri Dascy (Fall River, Mass./St. Andrews School). Favors paced the Hawks with 13 points at the break.

The Brandeis advantage grew as large as 15 points at 49-34 after a Hughes free throw just over three minutes into the second half. The Hawks began their comeback at that point, outscoring Brandeis 18-1 over a span of eight minutes. The visitors forced the Judges eight turnovers and four missed shots, eventually taking a 52-50 lead on a putback by junior Moody Doherty (Roselle, N.J./St. Mary) at the 8:57 mark.

Brandeis answered with a 7-0 run of their own, thanks to a lay-up and two free throws by Hughes and another Retos trifecta. Becker got within one twice more before Retos's seventh long-distance bomb at the 2:32 mark made it 66-61. The Hawks again turned up their defense, allowing Brandeis just one free throw the rest of the way in regulation. A Roberson jumper and a nice move by rookie Jerome Cohen (Boston, Mass./Everett) got Becker back within one at 66-65 with 1:41 left.

Hughes hit the first of two from the line on the next Brandeis possession, and Favors knocked loose the rebound of the miss. He drove in and made a lay-up with 1:22 left to knot the game at 67-67, a score that would hold up through the end of regulation. Retos opened the extra session with trifecta number eight, but Becker scored the next five points to take a 72-70 lead on two Doherty foul shots. The Hawks didn't fall behind again until Retos's heroics.

In addition to Retos's big game, Brandeis had three other players in double figures. Dascy finished with his second double-double of the season and the fourth of his career, scoring 16 points and grabbing a game- and career-high 15 rebounds. Bartoldus and Hughes had 10 points each. Hughes just missed his first career double-double with a game- and career-high nine assists. His 42 minutes played marked the fifth time in his career that Hughes has played at least 40 in a game. He also had four steals. Brandeis owned a 44-39 rebounding advantage and outscored Becker, 22-12, from the free-throw line.

Favors also had a fine game for Becker. He played all 45 minutes and led his team with 22 points and five assists. Also reaching double figures for the Hawks were Leggett, who had 13 of his 17 points and six of his team-high 10 rebounds in the second half and overtime, Doherty, who had 15 points, and Roberson, who led all bench players with 11. Becker got back in the game by forcing 23 Brandeis turnovers and converting them in 25 points.

Brandeis returns to action on Tuesday evening when they hit the road for the first time at UMass Dartmouth for a 6 p.m. tip. Becker is at Anna Maria in 10 days for a 7:00 game.