Squad unable to recover from slow start in loss to Amherst
Last season, the Amherst College men's basketball team traveled to Brandeis as the second-ranked team in Division III. The Judges sent them home with a resounding 76-61 victory, which led excited fans to storm the court.
Last Saturday, the two teams faced off again. This time, No. 10 Amherst had its revenge, defeating Brandeis 76-64 at Amherst College in a game in which the Judges never led. The loss ends the Judges' winning streak at seven and brings their record to 7-2.
This team has had its struggles on the road. They went 4-7 on the road and 8-5 at home last year. Two seasons ago, they were 7-7 on the road and 10-2 at home.
This year, Brandeis is off to a rocky start as well. They have scrapped together a 5-0 record at home but have managed to go just 2-2 on the road so far.
"I think we have a tendency to come out flat in the first half on the road," guard Ben Bartoldus '14 said. "When we come out flat we put ourselves in a hole that we spend the whole second half trying to get out of. This tendency is why we struggle."
The Judges got off to a slow start on Saturday, trailing 11-3 just three minutes, 33 seconds into the game. The lead stretched to 10 points after Lord Jeffs senior guard Allen Williamson drained a three pointer to give Amherst a 24-14 lead with 10:19 to go in the first half.
Center Wouter van der Eng '13 cut the lead to just two, 26-24, with his two free throws at the 6:49 mark, but the Judges never got closer than that. Brandeis found itself with a 39-31 deficit at halftime.
The second half did not prove to be any better for Brandeis. They again started off slowly, and following a Williamson layup to stretch the lead to 54-38 with 14:10 left in the game, coach Brian Meehan called a timeout.
Point guard Gabe Moton '14 cut the lead to seven with 8:05 left, forcing a 30-second timeout by Amherst. The two teams played relatively evenly the rest of the way, and Brandeis managed to come within six points but could never get over that hump.
Moton led the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Bartoldus added 14 points and the two starting guards combined for 55 percent of the Judges scoring. Center Youri Dascy '14 managed just four points and one rebound in 19 minutes.
Meehan turned to the bench early and often in this contest, with all but two starters struggling to find any rhythm offensively. Van der Eng played 18 minutes off the bench and scored seven points to go along with his two rebounds, two assists and one block. Guard Colby Smith '16 played 27 minutes off the bench, replacing the struggling guard Derek Retos '14 throughout the game. Retos scored just two points and shot 0-4 from beyond the three-point arc.
Bartoldus noted that the Judges' issues with fouling caused Meehan to rotate players in and out.
"We ran into foul trouble relatively early and had trouble in certain areas offensively," he said. "We rotated guys in to try and provide a spark, ultimately it didn't work out the way in which we planned."
Last Wednesday, the Judges defeated the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 86-65 in a non-conference home game. The Judges' sloppy play in the first half resulted in just a two-point lead at halftime, up 34-32. However, they made 65 percent of their shots from the field-including 16 of their first 22--leading to a 52-point outburst in the second half.
Bartoldus led the Judges with 18 points and seven rebounds. Forward Alex Stoyle '14 scored 13 points and dished out five assists. Dascy tallied 12 points, and Retos had 10 to round out the starting five.
Last Tuesday, Brandeis defeated Lasell College on the road, 72-56. The Judges took a 31-15 lead into halftime thanks to 11 straight points from Retos to hand Brandeis a 20-14 edge.
The teams played the second half to a draw. Lasell cut the lead to seven twice, but Dascy and Retos answered each time for the Judges.
Retos led the way with 28 points, tying a career high. He made seven three-pointers for the second game in a row.
Moton scored 12 points and dished out three assists. He and Retos were the only two players to score in double figures for the Judges. Dascy had nine points and eight rebounds in just 25 minutes. Forward Connor Arnold '14 grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.
Brandeis travels to Framingham State University tonight at 8 p.m. They play their last non-conference game at Bates College on Dec. 29 and begin University Athletic Association play at home against New York University on Jan. 5, 2013.
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