Cooper nets 20, but men suffer 71-54 setback at Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (courtesy University of Rochester sports information)– Brandeis University junior Jordan Cooper (Weston, Fla./Sagemont School) scored his team's first nine points en route to scoring 20 for the seventh time this season, but it wasn't enough as the Judges fell to the University of Rochester, 71-54, in a University Athletic Association contest at the Louis Alexander Palestra on Friday evening.

Jordan Cooper led Brandeis as he scored the first seven points of the game and the Judges' first nine as they jumped out to a 9-2 lead. They were ahead, 14-6, early in the contest, but couldn't hold off the 'Jackets on their home court. Junior Robinson Vilmont (Cambridge, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson) scored 12 for the Judges, but no other Brandeis player had more than five points. Cooper and Vilmont each hit three 3-point field goals.

Sam Borst-Smith led all players with 23 points for the home team. Tucker Knox scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Rochester. Michael Mangan and Jared Seltzer had nine points each. Zack Ayers scored seven points, grabbed six rebounds, and blocked three shots.

Rochester improved to 15-6 overall, 8-2 in the University Athletic Association. The Yellowjackets are tied for first place with Emory University. NYU is one game back at 7-3. NYU defeated Emory in Atlanta, 73-56, on Friday and comes to the Palestra on Sunday at noon. Brandeis heads to Atlanta to meet EU at the same time.

Borst-Smith scored 11 of his points in the closing minutes of the first half as Rochester took the lead for good with a 14-4 run. He hit three 3-pointers in the run and sank two free throws. The spurt gave the Yellowjackets a 35-25 lead at the break.

Brandeis used a flurry of 3-pointers – two from Vilmont and one by junior Jack Fay (New Rochelle, N.Y. / Suffield Acad.) early in the second half to pull within 38-36 with more than 15 minutes remaining. The Judges stayed within four points over the next three minutes, the last time on two free throws by John Powell (Ashland, Mass./Brimmer and May School), making the score 43-39.

Seltzer and Jeff Wittig hit mid-range jumpers to stretch the lead to 10. Cooper made one free throw for Brandeis but Wittig answered with a layup and a 51-40 lead.  Cooper knocked down a three-point to beat the shot clock (51-43) by two free throws from Borst-Smith and a trey by Seltzer restored the edge to 56-43.