January 27, 2012

Judges win second-straight overtime contest, 78-74, over Case

WALTHAM, Mass. – For the second game in a row, the Brandeis University men's basketball team outlasted a University Athletic Association (UAA) foe in overtime, as the Judges defeated Case Western Reserve University, 78-74, behind a balanced attack that featured five different players scoring in double figures. With the win the Judges improved to 10-7, 4-2 in the UAA, while the Spartans fall to 8-9, 0-6 UAA.

      The first 33 minutes of the game were extremely close, with the largest lead a five-point bulge by Case late in the first half. There were four ties and 14 lead changes with about seven minutes left in regulation. Brandeis trailed, 51-50, following a dunk by Case sophomore center David Thompson (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior), at the 7:10 mark, but Brandeis sophomore guard Ben Bartoldus (Hillsborough, N.H./Proctor Acad.) answered with a 3-pointer from the right elbow. That hoop kick-started a 12-2 run over the next three minutes. After senior Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness (N.H.) School) hit from deep with 3:43 left, the Judges owned a 62-53 edge.

      Case did not go quietly, however, as the Spartans held Brandeis to just one field goal the rest of the way, closing the second half on a 12-2 string of their own. Case senior Tom Summers (Murraysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) scored eight of their 12 points in that stretch, while also grabbing three key rebounds in the final 90 seconds. His put-back of an offensive board with 1:21 left cut the lead to 64-60. he also played nice defense and hit the glass on a Kriskus miss with around 45 seconds to go, hitting a lay-up on the other end that made it a one-possession game.

      After the Judges missed just their third free throw of the game with 23 seconds left, Summers was again on the spot for the rebound. After Case called a timeout, they worked the ball into the lane, where Brandeis senior guard Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) was whistled for a reach-in foul with 11.6 seconds left. Spartan junior guard Robert Scott (Paoli, Pa./Conestoga) calmly sunk both free throws, the second after a Brandeis timeout, tying the game at 64-64.

      The Judges had a chance to end the game in regulation. Hughes drove into the lane and backed his defender out for a jumper that was off the mark. Bartoldus had an offensive rebound attempt that was errant, forcing the Judges to their second OT game in a row.

      Brandeis opened the scoring in the extra session on one-of-two foul shots by sophomore center Youri Dascy (Fall River, Mass./St. Andrew's (R.I.) School). After a pair of empty possessions, Thompson went up-and-under after grabbing an offensive rebound to put the visitors ahead, 66-65, with 3:23 remaining. Brandeis answered with a short jumper by sophomore guard Derek Retos (No. Attleboro, Mass./Brimmer and May School) with just over three minutes remaining that put them ahead for good. The Judges eventually expanded the lead to five at 71-66 on a driving lay-up by Bartoldus with 1:22 left.

After Fowler grabbed an offensive rebound and hit two free throws, a thunderous dunk by Dascy on a fine behind-the-back pass from Hughes with 39.9 seconds on the clock again seemed to ice the contest. Fowler did drain a 26-foot 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 17.6 left that made it a two-point game, 75-73, but 5-of-6 from the line for the Judges down the stretch gave the Judges the four-point win. It marked the third-straight meeting between the two sides decided by five points or less.

      Brandeis's balanced attack helped carry the day as a season-high five players scored in double figures. Bartoldus scored all of his team-high 14 points after halftime, including eight in the first five minutes of the second half. Dascy and Retos each finished with 13 points – Retos tallying seven in the first half and Dascy seven after the break. Sophomore Alex Stoyle (Goffstown, N.H./Tilton Acad.) finished with a career-high-tying 12 points off the bench, including eight in the first half when he played 11 minutes following two quick fouls on Kriskus. Kriskus went on to score 11 points in the second half and overtime. The Judges' 14 points in the extra session came from four different players, none with more than four.

      Dascy led Brandeis with seven rebounds, while Hughes had a game-high seven assists. Bartoldus led all players with three steals, helping the Judges to a 15-11 edge in turnovers and 21-14 advantage in points off those miscues. That helped overcome a 23-10 deficit from the free-throw line, where the hosts trailed 20-2 at the end of regulation.

      Case was paced by a pair of terrific performances from Summers and Fowler, who both registered double-doubles. Summers had a game-high 20 points – 10 coming in the second half – to go with 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Fowler finished with 17 points, a game-high 14 rebounds (six offensive) and a team- and career-high six assists. Fowler notched seven of Case's 10 points in overtime. Thompson also reached double figures with 13 points. As a team, the Spartans outrebounded Brandeis, 40-29, including 14-9 on the offensive glass, good for 15 second-chance points to nine for the Judges.

      Brandeis returns to action on Sunday at noon against Carnegie Mellon, who upset 17th-ranked NYU tonight, 70-68, while Case takes on the Violets in the Big Apple at the same time.