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Men’s Basketball hitting its stride

Published: February 15, 2008
Section: Sports


02150809.jpgBrandeis Men’s Basketball solidified its hold on a possible NCAA berth, narrowly escaping Emory 90-85 in overtime and crushing Case-Western 88-57 last week.

The Judges opened up the scoring last Sunday with 11 straight points, six of them coming from Kevin Olson ’09. From there, Brandeis never looked back as Coach Brian Meehan got to empty his entire bench and the Judges waltzed their way to their largest victory of the season.

Joe Coppens ’08 had another excellent game with 20 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Andre Roberson ’10 provided 15 points off the bench, while Olson and Kenny Small ’10 each had 12. Florian Rexhepi ’08 was the last Judge to reach double digits with 10 points. Kwame Graves-Fulgham ’08 had a season-best eight assists and can become the Brandeis all-time leader with 31 more in the remaining five games.

“We just practiced on our execution,” Roberson said. “We knew coming into this that they would try to twist a couple of things around to play us so we twisted a couple of things around. Our whole key was to execute and we felt we did that today.”

Case-Western dropped its eleventh game in a row, as none of its players reached double-digits in scoring. Antwain Coward had the strongest showing with nine points off the bench. The Spartans shot 34 percent for the game and were an ice-cold 4 of 22 from the three point arc.

The victory comes after Brandeis narrowly escaped being at the wrong end of an upset, needing an extra period to overcome Emory back on February 8.

Trailing by five with 4:35 left in the game, the Judges went on a 13 to 5 run over the next three and a half minutes to take the three point lead. A three pointer by Emory’s Brian Giometti however gave the Eagles the 77-75 lead with 22 seconds left. When all looked lost, Brandeis got the break of a lifetime as Giometti fouled Andre Roberson while going up for the game winning shot. Roberson made the first two free-throws but missed the last to send the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Brandeis finally put Emory away, going on a seven to two run to take the five point lead with little over two minutes left to go, and six Judges free throws kept it that way.

Joe Coppens had an outstanding performance with a game high 23 points. Terrell Hollins ’10 helped shoulder the load with 17 points and was 5 of 6 from the free throw line. Kevin Olson and Kwame Graves-Fulgham each had 11 and 10 points respectively while Andre Roberson provided 10 of his own off the bench. Stephen Hill ’08 assisted down low with six rebounds. Foul shooting proved vital for Brandeis as they shot 82 percent from the line including 17 of 18 in the second half and 9 of 12 in the overtime session.

Emory also had five players in double-digit scoring. Spiros Federigos had 19 points and seven rebounds. Seth Kramer had 14 points and eight boards while Julian Williams had 13 points and a game high nine rebounds. Anthony Gonzalez rounded out the scoring for the starters with 10 points while almost-hero Brian Giometti had 12 off the bench.

“Emory, we kind of took a little lightly,” Roberson explained. “This is a stretch for us where now, we have to win a majority of our games to put us in a good position for March. We’re moving forward everyday so [Coach Meehan] told us to keep it up.”

The Brandeis Men take on the exceptionally tough Rochester Yellowjackets tonight at 8 p.m. and then host Carnegie-Mellon in a February 17 matinee at 11 a.m.