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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Judges complete Midwest sweep to attain national ranking

Published: January 24, 2013
Section: Sports

This past weekend, the men’s basketball team won both games on their annual Midwest UAA road trip for just the second time in program history, earning a national ranking of No. 19 in Division III. The Judges defeated No. 13 Washington University, 67-62, and the University of Chicago, 59-55. With the wins, the Judges improve to 14-2 on the season. With their UAA record of 5-0, they remain tied atop the league standings with No. 2 Rochester University.

Against the Washington University Bears, Derek Retos ’14 and Gabriel Moton ’14 helped the Judges overcome a four-point halftime deficit as the two combined to score 37 of the team’s 46 second-half points. Retos led all players in scoring for the contest with all of his 23 points coming in the second half. He shot 6 of 9 from beyond the arc including four in a row. Retos’ 23 points off the bench totaled 11 more points than the entire Bears’ bench. With his six three-pointers, Retos becomes just the seventh player with more than 150 during his career. He sits in sixth on the all-time list with 154 made three-point shots. He needs just three more to move into the top-five in program history.

Moton struggled in the first half, going just 1 of 8; however, in the second half, he heated up, shooting 4 of 6 with a pair of three-pointers and free throws for 14 points. He also buried the game-winning shot from beyond the arc as the shot clock expired to break a 57-57 tie with just one minute remaining in regulation.

Coming into the game, Washington University led Division III with a staggering 13.3 rebounding margin; however, the Judges won the rebounding battle in the second half, 21-14, and just narrowly lost it for the game 39-38. The Judges used their size to narrow the edge as Ben Bartoldus ’14 grabbed six boards while Wouter van der Eng ’13 and Alex Schmidt ’14 each collected five rebounds.

Moton and Retos dished out four and three assists, respectively, with a combined seven of the Judges’ 10 assists.

In a back and forth game, the Judges’ rebounding prowess was the key to winning. Washington University had just tied the game at 57-57 and was trying to make a run. On the ensuing possession, the Judges missed a three-pointer; however, Schmidt grabbed two offensive rebounds, allowing the Judges to get two more shots with the second falling for Moton. After reclaiming the lead, the Judges calmly sank 7 of 8 from the free throw line down the stretch to put the game away, winning 67-62.

Earlier in the week, the Judges overcame a 10-point halftime deficit against the University of Chicago Maroons.
While in the past, the Judges may have compounded their mistakes to turn the 10-point deficit into a blowout loss, Retos said the team has matured.

“I think experience really helps,” Retos said. “We’ve got a bunch of juniors and seniors on this team that have been through this before so we really know how to win on the road.”

After a poor-shooting first half, the Judges entered the second half trailing 34-24; however, Brandeis opened the second half on a 12-3 run with seven points from Moton to narrow the deficit to just a single point, 37-36. The Maroons were able to answer back to stop the run, but the Judges quickly responded as the teams traded baskets over the next eight minutes with three ties and five lead changes.

There was a stark difference between the energy and activity for the Judges in the first and second half that contributed to their halftime deficit.

“When we came out, we really didn’t have a lot of energy and were making mistakes that we’re not really prone to make,” Retos said. “But we came out after halftime and coach just said to keep at it and play with confidence.”

With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Retos hit a jumper to give the Judges their first lead since the 12:15 mark of the first half at 43-42. Five minutes later, the game was once again tied at 48-48 when Brandeis ran a fast break to regain the lead for good. Van der Eng grabbed the rebound off a Maroons’ miss and fired a pass to Retos who then threaded a pass to a cutting Alex Stoyle ’14 for a layup getting fouled in the process. After converting the and one, the Judges held a three-point lead, 51-48.

The Judges used smothering defense, key rebounding and clutch shooting down the stretch to hold off the Maroons to secure a 59-55 victory.

Moton led all scorers with 14 points while Stoyle finished with 12 points. Retos chipped in 11 points off the bench on 3 of 5 shooting from downtown. Moton also led all players with five assists and tied for the team-high with eight rebounds. Van der Eng also grabbed eight points, a career-high, with six in the second half, giving the Judges a crucial 38-37 advantage on the glass.

The Judges now embark on another extremely tough road trip. They travel to Emory University on Friday before heading to University of Rochester, the No. 2 team in the nation, on Sunday.