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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Men’s basketball wins Big Four Tournament

Published: November 30, 2012
Section: Featured, Sports

After a disappointing opening loss against Rhode Island College in the first game of the season, the men’s basketball team has rebounded nicely, winning their last four games to improve their record to 4-1 in the early stages of the season. In the Big Four Tournament, the Judges defeated Tufts 84-69 and then won against Salem State 78-61 to win their third Big Four Challenge in just four years. Then a few days later, they beat Clark 67-58 as the Judges completed their first homestand of the season with an undefeated record.

In the opening match of the Big Four Tournament, the Judges faced the Tufts University Jumbos. Point guard Gabriel Moton ’14, a recent transfer from Boston College, led the Judges to victory with a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds along with four assists. While the game was hard-fought in the first half, including six ties and nine lead changes, the Judges pulled away in the second half as Moton caught fire, making his first six shots of the half as he fueled the Judges’ offensive charge.

Along with Moton, Alex Stoyle ’14 and Youri Dascy ’14 also finished with double-digit points with Stoyle scoring a career-high 14 points along with eight rebounds. Dascy chipped in 11 points as well.

The Judges put forth a much better and thorough effort against Tufts than they did against Rhode Island College. Due to a lack of playing time together, Moton also attributed to the team’s lackluster performance against Rhode Island College.

“It was our first time playing together in a game that counts. The chemistry wasn’t as good as it is now and it’s just going to continue to get better,” he said. “I feel like if we played them again then it would be a different outcome.”

The Judges’ defense really stepped up in the second half after allowing the Jumbos to shoot 54 percent (15-28) in the first half. They held the Jumbos to just 39 percent shooting (12-31) in the second half.

The next day, the Judges faced Salem State in the finals of the tournament. Moton once again starred for the Judges as he led the Judges to a 41-35 halftime lead with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. The Judges had led by as many as nine points in the first half but were never able to fully pull away.

In the second half, Salem State made a last effort, attempting to get back into the game as they opened on a 6-2 run, cutting their deficit to just two points, 43-41. Brandeis responded, however, with two stellar plays as Derek Retos ’14 answered with a three-pointer and Moton knocked down a jumper to stretch the Judges’ lead out to seven, 48-41. While Salem State would furiously try to cut their deficit, they were never able to cut the score to less-than two possessions as Brandeis began to run away with the game and eventually win by a dominating 17 points.

Moton stuffed the stat-sheet for the Judges, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals while Ben Bartoldus ’14 also scored 13 points to go along with seven rebounds. Dascy once again put in a strong game with 10 points and three rebounds while Stoyle had nine points and nine rebounds.

The Judges completely controlled the boards as they finished the game with a 52-37 rebounding advantage. The Judges also limited their 11 turnovers, allowing just seven points while turning 15 Salem State turnovers into 17 points.

A few days later, the Judges returned to the court to face Clark University. Brandeis enjoyed balanced scoring as four different players reached double-digits. Dascy recorded his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds while Moton continued his stellar play with his second double-double of the season: 13 points and 10 rebounds. Stoyle tied his career-high with 14 points while Bartoldus finished with 12 points. Both Moton and Stoyle tied for the team lead with four assists each.

The Judges once again put together a sensational defensive effort, holding Clark to 33.3 percent shooting (20-60) including just 24.2 percent shooting in the second half (8-33). The Judges also held Clark to a paltry 1-15 from beyond the arc.

In the first half, the lead changed three times and there were two ties. The Judges’ largest lead was eight points capped by two free throws from Bartoldus; however, Clark chipped away at the lead, going on a 14-5 run to take a 22-21 lead just five minutes later. The two teams traded baskets throughout the first half as the Judges took a six-point lead into the break.

The Judges opened up the second half scoring three straight buckets to stretch their lead to 12 points, 40-28 just two minutes in. The lead ballooned to 14 points a few minutes later after Stoyle hammered-home a dunk off a nice pass from Moton. Clark would not give up, however, as they made another run to cut their deficit to single digits. Aided by their full-court press, Clark prevented the Judges from pulling away, but they were never able to get closer than two possessions.

As the season continues, Moton believes the team needs to focus on the little things. “We’re trying to tweak the little things that will make us better. Small things such as playing hard and hustling that make everyone better.”

After a successful home-stand, the Judges will go on the road to face Becker College on Saturday at 3 p.m. and then Lasell College on Tuesday at 8 p.m. before returning home on Wednesday to face Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.