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Kriskus leads Judges as they split UAA road trip

Published: February 10, 2012
Section: Sports


The Brandeis men’s basketball team suffered a defeat to Case Western Reserve this weekend losing 91-68 and then bounced back with a thrilling 77-76 overtime victory against Carnegie Mellon two days later as guard Tyrone Hughes ’12 converted an off-balance jumper at the buzzer. Forward Vytas Kriskus ’12 had a stellar weekend scoring 16 points in both the loss and the win. After the weekend, the Judges improved their record to 12-8 overall (6-3 UAA).

The previous three games between the Judges and the Spartans had been decided by a total of 12 points and it initially seemed that Friday’s contest would be no different. The first half featured five ties and six lead changes. Brandeis led by as many as six points just more than eight minutes into the game after a put-back from center Wouter van der Eng ’13 that gave Brandeis a 20-14 lead; however, the Spartans responded with a 12-2 run with six different Case players contributing during the run. Case attempted to stretch their lead heading into halftime but late buckets from Kriskus and Eng cut the Case lead to 36-35 at halftime.

While the Spartans were not able to establish separation from the Judges in the first half, they did not waste any time giving themselves some breathing room in the second half. Case scored on their first seven possessions of the second half while the Judges failed to convert their first five shots and committed one turnover in the first 3:09 of the second half. Following a three-pointer by Case rookie guard Julien Person, guard Ben Bartoldus ’14 responded with a three-pointer of his own to slow the Case momentum briefly. A layup by forward Youri Dascy ’14 at the 13:40 mark of the second half pulled the Judges within eight at 51-43; however, Case responded with a 10-0 run to put the game away. The Spartans shot a staggering 70 percent from the field in the second half, missing just nine shots as they scored their highest point total of the season.

Senior forward Tom Summers led the Spartans with a career-high 31 points scoring 20 of his 31 points in just 14 minutes of action in the second half. He finished the game 13-of-16 from the field including 5-of-5 from the line, and also tied for the game-high in rebounds with nine. Additionally, Summers did not miss a shot in the second half as he shot 8-of-8 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.

Brandeis had three players in double figures for the game. Kriskus led the team with 16 points with eight points coming in each half. Overall, Kriskus was 6-of-14 from the field including a three-pointer and was 4-of-5 from the charity stripe. Dascy and guard Jay Freeman ’13 each finished with 13 points. Dascy led the Judges with seven rebounds, but he was the only Brandeis player with more than four rebounds as the Spartans finished with a decisive 43-31 edge on the boards. Hughes finished with nine points and three assists.

Coming into the game, Brandeis was the Division III-leading three-point shooting team at 42.7 percent; however, they struggled from beyond the arc in this game shooting just 4-of-14 (28.6 percent).

Looking to bounce back from their decisive loss against Case Western Reserve, Brandeis faced Carnegie Mellon two days later. The contest was a classic game of two halves. The Judges dominated the play in the first half, leading by as many as 13 points and had a 36-27 lead at halftime behind a blistering 65 percent shooting from the field (15-of-23) including 63 percent (5-of-8) from beyond the arc. Furthermore, the Judges held the Tartans to just 34 percent shooting (11-of-32) including 30 percent (3-of-10) from downtown.

Once the second half started, the tables turned as Brandeis went cold and Carnegie Mellon caught fire. The Tartans shot 62 percent in the second half (13-of-21) while the Judges shot just 35 percent (10-of-29). Carnegie Mellon stormed out of the locker room and started the half on a 15-3 run to take their first lead of the game at 42-41 with 12:47 left in regulation. The Tartans began padding their lead and led by six, 64-58 with just 2:48 remaining in the game.

Brandeis answered with a crucial possession. Freeman calmly drained the first of his two free throws to cut the deficit to five and then rebounded his own miss on the second free throw and put it back to cut the Tartans’ lead to just three points.

On their next possession, the Tartans could only make one of two free throws and then, on the other end, Kriskus made both of his free throws to make it a two-point game. Moments later, Kriskus would give the Judges the lead again, 66-65 after an and-one with just 46 seconds remaining. Senior forward Joe Kromka got to the free throw line with 18 seconds left but was only able to hit one of his free throws to tie the game at 66-66. Fortunately for the Tartans, Kromka was able to block Freeman’s game-winning attempt to force overtime.

Overtime featured two ties and two lead changes. Despite both Kriskus and Bartoldus fouling out, the Judges were able to take advantage of the Tartans’ inability to convert at the free-throw line. While Carnegie Mellon was 12-of-14 from the charity stripe in regulation, they were just a paltry 5-of-10 from the line in overtime. The Tartans led 76-75 with 37 seconds remaining in overtime. The Judges intentionally fouled Case sophomore guard Christian Manoli. Manoli missed both free throws and forward Alex Stoyle ’14 grabbed the rebound to set up Hughes’ game-winning jumper at the buzzer.

Brandeis had four players in double figures for the game. Kriskus led the Judges with 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds. He shot 5-of-9 from the field including a three-pointer and was 5-of-5 from the line. Freeman added 12 points off of the bench single-handedly outscoring the Tartans’ bench as the Judges bench outscored their counterparts 27-11. Hughes and guard Derek Retos ’14 each scored 11 points with Retos connecting on 3-of-6 from downtown.

The Judges will continue their UAA road trip this weekend as they face Rochester on Friday. The Judges will return home on Feb. 17 to face Washington University-St. Louis.