Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

First half disappearing act dooms Judges in second

Published: November 18, 2011
Section: Sports

In their season opener, the Judges fell 91-82 to visiting Lasell College. The Lasell Lasers built a 21-point halftime lead thanks in large part to the Judges’ offensive woes. In the first half, the Judges shot a miserable 20 percent from the field (7-35) while Lasell hit 51.7 percent of their shots (15-29). The Lasers also outshot the Judges from beyond the arc 58.3 percent to 16.7 percent and from the free throw line 76.9 percent to 52.6 percent. Junior guard Sean Bertanza and junior forward Sonny Mello led the Lasers’ offense in the first half scoring 13 points each en route to a 47-26 halftime lead. The pair combined to score as many points as the entire Brandeis roster. Forward Vytas Kriskus ’12 led the Judges with eight points and seven rebounds in the first half.

The Judges changed their defense in the second half opting to go with a 1-3-1 half-court trap zone defense. The new defensive scheme caused Lasell lots of trouble as the full court pressure lured Lasell into many turnovers. Behind their increased defensive pressure, the Judges immediately began rallying. Uncharacteristic mistakes, however, deflated any chance of a rally. Occasionally, while in the 1-3-1 zone, Brandeis defenders did not completely rotate, leaving Lasell shooters wide open in the corner. The Lasers made the Judges pay for these defensive miscues sinking three after three. Furthermore, the Judges were unable to finish at the rim. The Judges missed a surprisingly high number of layups and were unable to convert their offensive rebounds into points as they continuously missed tip-in shots. The Judges also committed silly fouls away from the ball quickly sending Lasell into the bonus and to the free-throw line.

Lasell opened the second half scoring the first five points on a three-pointer from junior guard Arthur Alexander and a layup by senior forward Javon Williams to double up the Judges 52-26 less than a minute into the second half. But, Brandeis overcame 19-point deficits twice last season and, with nearly the entire team returning for this season, the Judges were not daunted by the deficit. After the Williams layup, the Judges went on a 19-8 run over the next six minutes to cut the Lasell lead to 15 points on a three-pointer by guard Derek Retos ’14 at the 13:09 mark.

Lasell answered with a run of their own, scoring nine of the next 13 points to push their lead back to 20 points on a layup by senior forward Dominik Orloff at the 11:25 mark. The play went back and forth for the next four minutes with the Judges only able to shave three points off of the Lasell lead.

Two layups from Judges guard Tyrone Hughes ’12 bookended an 11-3 run that cut the Lasell lead to single digits, 76-67, with just 4:02 left in the game. After sophomore guard Brandon Ganesh sunk a jumper to put the Lasers back up by 11, Brandeis center Youri Dascy ’14 converted a three-point play after being fouled on a put-back to pull the Judges within eight points with 3:29 left in the game.

The visiting Lasers proved to be resilient as they quickly got a score off of a Ganesh feed to Orloff and then got a defensive stop on the other end. After two free throws, Lasell was back on top by 12 points with only 2:37 left. The Judges were unable to cut the deficit back to single digits until the Lasers gave up an uncontested layup at the buzzer.

Lasell was led by Bertanza, who finished with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-3 from downtown and 2-of-3 from the line. He also led the Lasers with nine rebounds and three steals. Senior guard Nate DiSessa and Ganesh each scored 15 and Mello finished with 13 points while Alexander led the Lasers with five assists. The Lasers continued their solid shooting in the second half finishing with a 54.2 field goal percentage (13-24) to finish at 52.8 percent for the game (28-53). The Lasers were also hot from beyond the arc shooting 55.6 percent (10-18) and 78.1 percent from the free-throw line (25-32).

Although the Judges’ shooting dramatically improved in the second half, connecting on 51.3 percent of their shots (20-39), it only raised their field goal percentage to 36.5 percent for the game (27-74). Both Dascy and Kriskus finished with double-doubles when Dascy scored a game-high 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds while Kriskus tallied 17 points and grabbed 11 boards, including seven on the offensive glass. Guard Ben Bartoldus ’14 finished with 13 points while Hughes and Retos each scored 10 points. Despite outrebounding the Lasers 48-33, including 25-5 on the offensive glass, the Judges were unable to overcome their poor first-half performance as their rally fell short.

And yesterday the Judges rebounded from their tough loss to Lasell with a dominating 78-50 win over Emerson. The Judges’ entire roster towered over Emerson with each Brandeis player having at least an inch on their opponents. Retos paced the Judges offense with 17 points. In stark contrast to their first game, the Judges connected on 58.7 percent of their shots (27-46) including 44.4 percent (8-18) from beyond the arc. The Judges also were much improved from the free-throw line shooting 72.7 percent (16-22).

The Lions started the game in a 2-3 zone defense. The Judges quickly attacked the zone defense scoring the game’s first three points on a three-point play from Retos. Emerson quickly answered with a layup from freshman point guard Eli Kell-Abrams. The Judges started off slowly on the offensive end going just 1-4 in the first four minutes; however, their stellar defense and hustle kept the game low scoring until the Judges’ offense came alive. Guard Jay Freeman ’13 started a 18-7 Judges’ run with a layup at the 16:09 mark of the first half. Less than eight minutes later, the Judges had pushed their lead to 21-8. Emerson responded by pulling within nine, 31-22, at halftime. Despite leading at the break, the Judges could not have been happy with their first-half performance. The Judges committed turnovers off of a sloppy ball handling that let the Lions hang around in the game.

The Judges blew Emerson out of the arena in the second half, opening on a 20-4 run over the first 5:28 to blow the game wide open with a lead of 51-26. On the Judges first 10 possessions of the second half, they scored three-points six times, including three traditional three-point plays: one by Hughes on a breakaway layup off of a steal and two by Dascy. With the 51-26 lead, the Lions never pulled within 15 points for the rest of the game.

Retos fell one point short of his career-best with 17 points in 19 minutes of action. He shot 6-for-9 overall, 4-for-6 from downtown and calmly hit his only free throw. Bartoldus added 10 points, with six coming in the first half, while Hughes, Kriskus and Freeman each scored nine points.

Dascy led all players with seven rebounds, leading the Judges to a 37-24 advantage on the glass while Hughes led all players with three assists.

Senior forward Nathan Firn led the Lions with 13 points, with 11 points in the second half, while junior guard Bilali Kalilou-Mack added 12 points and 10 points from Kell-Abrams, all of which came in the first half.

Kell-Abrams also led Emerson with six rebounds despite being the shortest player on the court. He played all 20 minutes of the first half but was limited to just eight minutes in the second half before he fouled out. Kell-Abrams energetic play led to a flagrant foul as he wrapped his arms around the neck of Hughes to prevent a breakaway layup.

The Judges return to action Saturday at 1 p.m. when they host Becker College.