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In with a win: Brandeis beats NYU, makes NCAA tournament

Published: March 6, 2009
Section: Sports


BBALL: Steve DeLuca (GRAD) tips off against Washington University at home last month.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

BBALL: Steve DeLuca (GRAD) tips off against Washington University at home last month.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

The season had begun with a very disappointing loss; it ended with a convincing victory on the road.

Kevin Olson ’09 made five three pointers and cemented his status as the number one three point shooter in the NCAA as he helped the Judges overcome a shaky first half to stake the 63-44 win at New York University. The win was Brandeis’ fifth straight and not only did they close out the season with second place in the University Athletic Association conference (UAA) but they were awarded an at-large Pool C bid in the NCAA tournament.

“We needed to win,” Brandeis head coach Brian Meehan reflected in his office. “I thought we played poorly in the first half but certainly in the second half, we played much better. Getting a win like that and not having to bring it down all the way to the final minutes; it was nice when we’re able to get everybody in the game.”

The game started slow for the Judges but with the score knotted at 24 with about three minutes left in the first half, Brandeis responded with an 8-0 run including five straight from Terrell Hollins ’10 to give the Judges the 32-24 half time lead. NYU cut the deficit to seven nearly half way through the second half but they had no answer for Olson who nailed three three’s over the next four minutes and helped the Judges rise to a 17 point lead. Brandeis never saw their lead fall below 13 and walked out of the Jerome Coles Sports Center with the 19 point win.

Olson led all scorers with 21 points on 7-8 shooting, going 5-6 in his three point attempts. Kenny Small ’10 had the next highest total, knocking in 14 points while Steve DeLuca (GRAD) finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Although he couldn’t find his shooting touch, missing all five shots, point guard Andre Roberson ’10 sparked the scoreboard with 10 assists.

On the losing side of the ledger, the Violets were led by John Mish who finished the last game of his career with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Fellow senior Bill Morrisey was the next highest with eight points. Overall, the Violets were hamstrung by poor shooting thanks in part to an aggressive Brandeis defense. The Judges out shot NYU 44 percent to 37 percent and swamped them behind the three point line, making 10 of 19. The Violets by contrast finished with only three made out of 16 attempts, an 18 percent clip. Brandeis also made all but one free throw while limiting the hosts to only 11 trips to the charity stripe.

After all the initial struggles, slow starts and line up shuffling, the Judges enter the NCAA’s two degrees above blazing and will look to extend their season all the way to Salem. They first have to make their way out of Franklin and Marshall where they will face their first opponent, Scranton at 7 pm tonight. A well balanced team with four players averaging double digits in points; it is not a gimme match by any stretch of the imagination.

As Coach Meehan explained, “they’re big, and they score a lot of points so I expect it to be a difficult game and we have to play our best defense of the season…It’ll be just a matter of us staying disciplined and sticking with the game plan.”

Joining the Judges on the road will be the head coach of the men’s soccer program, Mike Coven who placement was made necessary due to a flu bug that has already afflicted four players and Coach Meehan himself. Whoever survives Friday’s opener faces the winner of the Franklin and Marshall – Wesley match up on March 7.