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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

UPDATE: ‘Deis men walk away with OT victory

Published: March 2, 2007
Section: Sports

The Brandeis Judges stepped onto the court, proverbial newborns in NCAA play. Nary a senior among them, they faced a tough foe in the Trinity College Bantams. Under the charged atmosphere, neither team disappointed but in the end, it was the Brandeis Judges that walked away the victor, needing an extra frame to claim the 77-70 victory.

The key turning point for the game was in the second half with 1:15 left to go and Trinity holding a 56-52 edge over Brandeis. A Stephen Hill 08 free throw cut the lead to three but after the missed second free throw, rather than fold, Joe Coppens 08 managed to block Trinitys Kino Clarke and on the offensive break, received the pass from Steve DeLuca 08 and nailed a long three with 26.1 seconds remaining.

They were really patient, Coach Brian Meehan said after the game, Joey came off the screen, lost his man and had a really good look at it and knocked it down just like I told him to do. Coppens was more low key in describing the shot, I just saw Steve DeLuca had the ball at the top of the key, took a dribble left. I kind of went behind him. He handed it off to me and he kind of took my man out and thats how the big three is all about. Went really quick.

The five minute overtime frame was dominated from the start by Steve DeLuca. Having been kept mostly in check by Trinity in regulation, he was a man possessed. After his lay-up started the overtime, rookie Andre Roberson managed to steal the ball from Trinity and after a time out, it turned into a DeLuca three pointer and a five point Judges lead. Nothing the Bantams threw could stop Brandeis as they only missed one shot in the overtime session. Despite some potent shooting by Trinity in the extra frame, it was not enough as Coppens made four straight free throws to seal the game.

DeLuca led the team with 24 points, this included the 10 points he provided in overtime. Coppens, after some brief struggles in the beginning of the game, finished with 17 points and a team leading nine rebounds. Florian Rexhepi 08 scored Brandeiss first seven points but was then held in check but he managed to finish with 14 points. Kwame Graves-Fulgham 08 was efficient, missing only one field goal attempt and made his only three attempt which left him with eight points and a team leading five assists. Coach Meehan also took great pride with the team committing only six turnovers, an impressive figure from a team without seniors.

The Trinity backcourt of Kino Clarke and Patrick Martin led the offense with 20 and 19 points respectively while forward Robert Taylor had 10. Center Russ Martin led the team in scoring in the regular season with 16.1 points per game but Friday night was effectively neutralized by Brandeiss sterling defense as he was held to nine points though he grabbed a game high 13 rebounds.

From the start it was a game of runs and inches as Brandeis used a 7-0 run to build a 14-7 lead only to watch Trinity return the favor with a 9-1 run. Neither side shot better than 33% as the first half ended 24-23 in Brandeiss favor nor through out the game, would either team get a lead bigger than seven.

Brandeis takes on host Rhode Island College who narrowly held back the scrappy Coast Guard Bears 64-60. An athletic club, they are a team that will not be taken lightly and despite the newly discovered school spirit and cheer from the Brandeis faithful, the fact remains that the Anchormen have the home court advantage. However this Judges squad is currently hotter than blue blazes and sometimes, that is all that is needed.

In regards to the future goals of the basketball program, Coach Meehan stated the importance of Fridays victory, This is the first step of where wed like to take the program for years to come.