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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Judges fail to send seniors off on high-note

Published: March 2, 2012
Section: Sports

This past weekend the Judges’ men’s basketball team had a disappointing finish to a promising season, dropping their final two games to Chicago, 80-66, and NYU, 65-63. If the Judges had been able to win their final two games, they would have had a chance at making the NCAA Tournament; however, the Judges were unable to play with any consistency down the stretch of the season, so they failed to make the postseason. The Judges finished the year on a two-game losing streak with a record of 13-12 (7-7 UAA).

Against Chicago this past Saturday, guard Vytas Kriskus ’12 scored 19 points to become the 30th player in Brandeis history to reach 1,000 points in his collegiate career. Unfortunately, the Judges could not get the win to go along with Kriskus’ accomplishment.

Unlike in past games, the Judges were able to start quickly, gaining an early 12-6 lead. Like the story has been all season, the Judges were not able to play a consistent 40 minutes of basketball. The Maroon quickly went on a 19-8 run to erase the Brandeis lead and ceased to relinquish their lead for the rest of the game.

The key statistic for this game was the Judges’ inability to defend the three-pointer. The Maroon shot a staggering 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from beyond the arc, which accounted for 36 of their 80 points. In contrast, the Judges only shot 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from downtown.

Another crucial statistic was turnovers. Brandeis committed 13 turnovers compared to just eight turnovers from Chicago. Furthermore, while Brandeis only scored five points off of Chicago turnovers, the Maroon scored a whopping 22 points off of Judges’ turnovers.

Finally, the last noteworthy statistic was bench scoring. The Judges’ bench has been a strength all season; however, against the Maroon, the bench was severely outplayed with Chicago’s bench outscoring Brandeis 40-21.

Guard Ben Bartoldus ’14 commented, “The loss to Chicago was really frustrating. If we had won we’d have a chance to get into the tournament.” Bartoldus continued, “Once we lost to Chicago, our confidence went down a little. Not making the tournament was just frustrating.”

Kriskus finished the game 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. He also ended up with eight rebounds, a block and a steal. Center Youri Dascy ’14 finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Guard Tyrone Hughes ’12 finished with five assists, while forward Ishmael Kalilou ’15 led the bench with seven points.

Following their disappointing loss to Chicago, the Judges hosted NYU a week later on Senior Day.

Kriskus once again led the Judges with 21 points and 12 rebounds. After his final collegiate game, Kriskus finished 28th on the all-time scoring list with 1,029 points. Additionally, Hughes finished the game with seven points and six assists. In his final and 109th career game, which is the second most all-time in program history, Hughes finished his career with 380 assists and 143 steals, which both rank fourth on the Judges’ list.

Unfortunately, the Judges could not send their seniors off with a win as they fell 65-63 to NYU. Brandeis appeared to be in control with 5:50 remaining in the game and up eight points on NYU; however, NYU mounted a furious comeback in the final minutes of the game to erase their late deficit and come away with a win.

After NYU took a two-point lead with 33 seconds remaining in the game, Brandeis had two chances to tie or take the lead again. The Judges were unable to convert an alley-oop lob play that they had successfully executed earlier in the game. Fortunately they got a stop on the defensive end to give themselves another chance with 12.2 seconds left.

After back-to-back time-outs by Brandeis coach Brian Meehan and NYU coach Joe Nesci, the Judges decided to run an isolation-play for Hughes. NYU was called for a reach-in foul on Hughes with 2.7 seconds left in the game sending Hughes to the line for a one-and-one to attempt the game-tying free throws; however, Hughes’ first foul shot was off the mark and the Violet grabbed the rebound to secure the victory.

Aside from Kriskus, Dascy was the only other Judges’ player to finish in double figures with 11 points, hitting on 3-of-5 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Guard Jay Freeman ’13 led all players with four steals.

Brandeis suffered its first loss of the year after taking a lead into half-time.
The key stat in this game was NYU’s field goal percentage. Brandeis shot 43.6 percent (24-of-55) from the field but allowed NYU to shoot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field. In such a close contest, the Judges can not just allow their opponents to shoot 50 percent or better.
Bartoldus added, “It’s going to be tough filling in for Tyrone and Vytas. We’re losing two seniors. Vytas could score and Tyrone set up the offense. Jay will probably step up and facilitate the offense next year in place of Tyrone, but everyone’s going to need to step up next year.”
Bartoldus continued, “The team was very inconsistent this year. We beat Amherst, the number-one team in the country and the number-one seed in the NCAA tournament, pretty handedly early in the season, but we just couldn’t put a consistent body of work together. Our main goal next year is to make the NCAA tournament.”

Next year, the Judges will have to make up for the key losses of Tyrone Hughes and Vytas Kriskus. The Judges will primarily consist of juniors next year. The team will have enough talent to compete with anyone next year; however, someone will need to step up and fill the void in leadership that the loss of Hughes and Kriskus will create. The Judges have clearly stated their goal for next season. The Judges have the means to accomplish their goal but to do so they must play consistently next year.