Balanced attack and hot second half leads men past #24 WashU, 79-69

Youri Dascy '14 (photo courtesy E. Conn. Sports Information)

WALTHAM, Mass. – With four starters scoring in double figures and 57 percent second-half shooting, the Brandeis University men's basketball team defeated 24th-ranked Washington (Mo.) University, 79-69, in a key University Athletic Association (UAA) matchup tonight. With the win, the Judges improve to 13-10, 7-5 in the UAA, while the Bears fall to 17-6, 9-3 UAA.

Brandeis used a balanced attack to get the win. Sophomore center Youri Dascy (Fall River, Mass./St. Andrews (R.I.) School) led the Judges with 16 points on 6-of-12 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line, while also topping the Judges with eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Ben Bartoldus (Hillsborough, N.H./Proctor Acad.) scored all 14 of his points in the second half, while junior guard Jay Freeman (Dorchester, Mass./St. Marks School) had his 13 in the first 20 minutes.

Senior guard Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuana/Holderness (N.H.) School) added 12 points in just 17 minutes of action and now stands just 11 points shy of becoming Brandeis's 30th 1,000-point scorer. Classmate Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, Mass./Taft School) had a fine all-around performance with a game-high nine assists to go along with seven points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. He played all 40 minutes for the 11th time in his career. Sophomore forward Alex Stoyle (Goffstown, N.H./Tilton School) had a fine showing off the bench, including a game- and career-high three blocked shots. As a team, the Judges outshot Washington U., 45.3% to 36.8%, while hitting 10-of-19 from 3-point range (52.6%) and holding the Bears to 2-of-15 (13.3%).

Washington U. had the game's two high scorers, as sophomore Chris Klimek (Inverness, Ill./William Friend) and junior Robert Burnett (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) combined for 40 of their team's 69 points. Klimek finished with 22 points on 9-of-20 overall and 4-of-4 from the line, while Burnett had 18 points on 8-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-5 from the charity stripe. Burnett also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. Sophomore Alan Aboona (Wheeling, Ill./St. Viator) led the visitors with five assists. WashU outrebounded Brandeis, 21-12 on the offensive glass, but the Bears were only able to turn that into an 18-14 edge in second-chance points. Washington outscored Brandeis, 18-4, in points off turnovers, but the margin wasn't enough to offset their deficit from behind the arc and a 21-11 Brandeis edge from the line.

The first half featured two ties and six lead changes, with the last coming on a late Brandeis 3-pointer by junior guard Anthony Trapasso (Sterling, Mass./St. John's High School) that gave the hosts a 39-37 lead at the intermission. Making just his second career start, Freeman led all played with 13 first-half points, including 8-of-8 free throws. Dascy added 10 of his points in the first, while Klimek had 12 to pace the Bears.

Brandeis opened the second half on fire, outscoring WashU 18-6 over the first eight minutes, with eight points in the run coming from Kriskus and five from Bartoldus. The Judges connected on six of their first eight shots, including their first four 3-pointers. Trapasso's second bomb of the night gave the Judges a 12-point lead, while a Stoyle dunk in transistion at the 12:05 mark made the score 57-43 with 12:05 left on the clock.

After Bear head coach Mark Edwards called a timeout, the visitors made a run to get back into the game. WashU outscored Brandeis, 19-5, over the next eight minutes. Klimek had eight points in the run and Burnett had five as the Bears were able to convert a succession of back-door lay-ups. Meanwhile the Judges went cold, missing six-of-seven shots and committing five turnovers. Klimek finally tied the game at 62-62 with 4:15 left on an assist from Burnett.

Brandeis quickly reclaimed the lead, however, scoring seven points in less than a minute. Dascy broke the deadlock by converting a turnaround hook shot on the next Judge possession. After an offensive foul on WashU, Bartoldus answered with a 3-pointer from the corner and a fast-break lay-up, making it a three-possession game that never got closer than six points the rest of the way, converting 7-of-11 from the line to pull away. The Judges ended up hitting 12-of-21 after the break, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, while keeping WashU to 13-of-38 and 0-of-8, respectively.

With the win over the current conference leaders, Brandeis still has a slim hope alive at the UAA title, sitting two games behind the Bears with two to play. Washington currently sits one game ahead of second-place NYU, who defeated Chicago tonight by the same 79-69 score. Brandeis will play UC at home on Sunday at noon, while Washington travels to NYU at the same time.