Despite Cooper's 27, men can't hang on in 83-81 OT loss at Case Western Reserve

Jordan Cooper '18 (photo by Sportspix/Mike Broglio)
Jordan Cooper '18 (photo by Sportspix/Mike Broglio)

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Brandeis University men's basketball team dropped a heartbreaker today at Case Western Reserve, as the Judges fell 83-81, in overtime in a University Athletic Association contest. The Judges led by as many as 11 points in the second half and were ahead by four points with under two minutes to go in overtime, but the hosts rallied twice to earn the win. Brandeis falls to 6-8 overall, 1-2 in the UAA. Case improves to 12-2 overall, 3-0 UAA. 

Brandeis opened up a 44-38 lead at halftime by shooting lights out. The Judges connected on 60 percent from the floor (15-25), 67 percent from deep (4-6) and 91 percent from the line (10-11). Rookie Jordan Cooper (Weston, Fla./Sagemont School) and sophomore Robinson Vilmont (Cambridge, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson) each had 10 points in the stanza, while Case's Dane McLoughlin had 11 for the hosts. 

The Spartans opened the second half on an 8-2 run to get back into the contest, tying the game at 46-all at the 15:44 mark on a McLaughlin offensive rebound and put-back. The Judges held the hosts at bay as Cooper scored the game's next five points. The Spartans were able to stay within five points at 58-53 on a Spencer Boyd trifecta at the 9:05 mark, but Vilmont answered from downtown, sparking a 6-0 run for the Judges. After sophomore Tim Reale (Mason, Ohio/St. Andrews School) hit one-of-two from the line, Brandeis took its largest lead, 64-53, with 6:47 remaining in regulation.

The Judges hit a cold spell at that point, hitting just one field goal the rest of the way in regulation, to allow the hosts back into the game. Vilmont's lay-up at 3:13 made it a 69-62 edge for the Judges, but Julien Person kickstarted Case with a steal and a lay-up. After Brandeis's Connor Arnold (Andover, Mass./Andover) hit one-of-two from the line, Person connected from deep with 1:36 to go to get the hosts within 70-67. Vilmont connected twice from the charity stripe with 1:25 to go, but McLaughlin responded from downtown, making it a 72-70 game with 1:09 to go.

Brandeis ran the shot clock all the way down on their next possession, but the Spartans were able to get the rebound when a 3-pointer was off the mark. On the next possession, Person was able to get to the line, sinking both free throws to tie the game at 72 with the shot clock off. Brandeis got the ball into Reale's hands for the last shot, but his contested lay-up was off the mark, forcing overtime for the Judges for the first time this season.

Cooper opened the OT session with two free throws after the Judges got a defensive stop. Both teams came up empty on their next possession before Person knotted the game at 74 from the line. Reale put Brandeis back ahead with a nice drive to the hoop. He was fouled in the process but was unable to convert the three-point play. The Judges again held on the defensive end, and Cooper drained a jumper from the left side to put the visitors ahead, 78-74 with 1:46 remaining. 

Case again missed on their next attempt, but the Spartans rallied to force a turnover. With 45 seconds remaining, Person drove to the lane and hit a tough jumper in the paint while drawing a foul. He converted to make it a one-point game, 74-73. Reale got to the line again with 38 seconds to go, but missed his first foul shot before converting the second. On their next trip, Case again got the ball to Person, who was once again able to pentrate, score and draw a foul. His second three-point play of the OT gave the Spartans their first lead of the contest, 80-79. 

On their next attempt, Cooper drove to the glass and tried to draw contact, but was unable to get a bucket or a foul, and the Spartans rebounded. They hit twice at the other end to make it a three-point game. Brandeis opted for a quick lay-up from Colby Smith (No. Andover, Mass./No. Andover) and a foul with under 10 seconds to go. Case hit just one of two, but the Judges were unable to get a good look at another tying or go-ahead bucket. 

Cooper led Brandeis with 27 points (8-14 FG, 3-5 3FG, 8-10 FT), one shy of his career best. He also grabbed a team- and career-high eight rebounds. Vilmont finished with 19 points, while Reale had 12 points and team-high four assists while playing 44 of 45 minutes. 

McLauglin led the Spartans with a double-double of 20 points and game-high 11 rebounds. Person added 17 points, 15 of which came in the final five minutes of regulation and in overtime. The Spartans' bench outscored Brandeis's, 33-7, thanks to 13 points from David Black and 10 from his twin Eric, who also had seven rebounds. 

The Judges return to action at home next Friday night at 8 p.m. against the University of Chicago.