Men fall two games back in UAA race with 76-61setback at Rochester

Jay Freeman '13 (Photo by Mike Lovett)
Jay Freeman '13 (Photo by Mike Lovett)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Three different Brandeis University men's basketball players scored in double figures tonight, but it wasn't enough to offset 27 points from University of Rochester junior John DiBartolomeo as the Yellowjackets earned a season split with the Judges with a 76-61 victory in University Athletic Association action in the Palestra. With the loss, the Judges fall to 12-9 on the season,  6-4 in the UAA, while the Yellowjackets improve to 14-7, 5-5 UAA. 

Brandeis got 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds from senior Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness (N.H.) School). Kriskus hit 7-of-18 overall with a 3-pointer, and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line to move within 34 points of 1,000 for his career. Four of his eight rebounds came on the offensive glass. Junior guard Jay Freeman (Dorchester, Mass./St. Mark's School) came off the bench to contribute 12 points on 4-of-8 overall and 2-of-3 downtown. Sophomore center Youri Dascy (Fall River, Mass./St. Andrews (R.I.) School) added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Unfortunately for the Judges, no other Brandeis player had more than six points or three rebounds.

DiBartolomeo was the star of the night, hitting 9-of-11 from the floor, including all four 3-pointers, and all five free throws. He also led the hosts with three assists. Rochester also got nine points each from Nate Novosel, Rob Reid and Kevin Sheehy. Chris Dende topped UR with seven rebounds. The Yellowjackets outshot Brandeis, 57.4% to 43.4%, while hitting 6-of-12 from 3-point range (50%) while holding the Judges to 4-of-16 (25%).

Brandeis opened the game quickly on the road, outscoring Rochester 14-8 over the first 6:23. Kriskus (8 points) and Dascy (6 points) accounted for all of the Judges' scoring in that stretch. The hosts responded by going on a 16-3 run over the next five-plus minutes. DiBartolomeo and Tyler Seidman each had five points in the string. Brandeis would get back to within five points on a couple of occasions in the first half, but Rochester would never surrender the lead for the rest of the game. DiBartolomeo scored 18 of his 27 points in the first half, while Kriskus had 10 for the visitors, as Rochester took a 37-29 lead into the break.

After UR scored the first five points of the second half to go ahead 42-29 on a Nate Vernon trifecta, the Yellowjackets were able keep the comfortable lead until the late going. Down 62-51 with 7:11 left, Brandeis tried to get back in the game with a 6-0 spurt, capped by an Alex Stoyle (Goffstown, N.H./Tilton School) jumper that made it a five-point game at 62-57 with 4:22 left. On the next possession, DiBartolomeo drew a foul and hit both free throws, and the Yellowjackets scored three points on their next two trips down the floor, while getting stops on the defensive end to push the lead back to 13 with under three minutes to go. The hosts hit 6-of-8 from the line down the stretch to maintain their victory, while shooting 63% from the floor (12-19).

Brandeis returns to action Sunday afternoon in Atlanta at 12 noon against 23rd-ranked Emory. With four games to go in the season, Brandeis is now two games behind Washington University and one behind NYU in the UAA standings, tied for third with Emory after the Eagles held off the Violets, 73-70.