Kriskus goes for career-high 35 to lead Brandeis past Curry in Judges Classic final

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WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University junior guard Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania/Holderness School) scored a career-high 35 points in 37 minutes today to lead the Judges (3-0) to an 81-69 victory over Curry College (1-2) in the championship game of the Brandeis Judges Classic. Kriskus was named tournament MVP for his efforts.

Kriskus had 13 points in the first half, but exploded for 22 in the second, when he shot 6-of-11 from the field, 3-of-4 from downtown and 7-of-8 from the line. His overall shooting numbers totaled 9-for-20 from the field, including two second-half dunks, 5-for-9 from deep and 12-of-13 from the line. Kriskus also tied two other players for game-high honors with eight rebounds.

Also contributing for the Judges was rookie guard Derek Retos (North Attleboro, Mass./Brimmer and May School), who had 11 points off the bench. Retos connected on 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Senior forward Christian Yemga (Yaounde, Cameroon/Proctor Acad.) tied Kriskus for team-high honors with eight boards, while junior guard Tyrone Hughes (Roslindale, Mass./Taft School) had a fine all-around performance with eight points, a career-high-tying seven assists and five boards, while committing only one turnover. Hughes's seven assists were two more than the entire Curry team. The Judges also connected on 88.5 percent from the line (23-26) and outrebounded Curry, 40-24.

Despite the statistical edges, Brandeis needed all 35 of Kriskus's points, as he dueled offensively with Curry junior Jarrell Jackson (Brockton, Mass./North Cambridge), who also scored 35. He notched 20 points in 18 minutes in the first half, when he shot 7-of-15 overall, 2-of-5 from range and 4-of-6 from the line. For the whole game, Jackson connected on 11-of-24 from the floor, 3-of-8 from deep and 10-of-12 from the line. The Colonels also got a terrific performance from junior Sedale Jones (Pittsfield, Mass./Pittsfield), who scored 23 points – 14 in the first half – and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.  Jackson and Jones combined for 58 of the Colonels 69 points, or 84 percent of their team's offense.

After the Colonels opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers by their dynamic duo to take a 6-4 lead, the Judges answered with 17-4 run over a span of 5:22 to take a 21-10 edge at the 13:13 mark. Kriskus accounted for eight points in the string with a pair of trifectas and a lay-up, while Hughes also had five in the run. Curry closed within five, 24-19, on a Jones bomb at the 9:31 mark, but Retos hit three 3-pointers in less than three minutes to put the Brandeis lead back into double digits. The Judges were ahead by 18, at 45-27, 2:31 before the intermission, but Jackson scored the last nine points of the half to get Curry within nine, 45-36. The Colonels got within seven points early in the second half, but that was as close as they would get in the fireworks display by Kriskus, Jackson and Jones.

In the consolation game, Colby College defeated Newbury College 88-74.

For Colby (1-1), junior forward Eric Beaulieu (Concord, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) had the game-high score with 22 points and four rebounds.  Senior forward Mike Russell (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley) had 17 points and seven rebounds, shooting 7-9 from the floor.  The Mules shot 35-54 (64.8%) in the game, making 15-for-22 (68.2%) from the line. 

For Newbury (0-3), sophomore forward Peterson Bernard (Boston, Mass./Madison Park) had a double-double, with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the team in scoring.  Senior guard John Rowley Jr.  (Hartford, Conn./ Rockville) had 15 points, four rebounds and four assists.  The Nighthawks shot 32-70 (45.7%) in the game.

The Mules started out hard, getting up by 10 points before the Nighthawks even got on the board.  A Newbury timeout at 11:37 helped them make a run of their own.  Bernard  made two steals in a row, which turned into breakaway layups for the Nighthawks, to close the gap. With a backdoor layup from Rowley the Nighthawks got up by one point, their largest lead of the game, at 19-18 .  Not to be denied, Colby quickly took back control of the game, outscoring Newbury 17-4 over the next five minutes to give Colby a 15 point lead. The Mules closed out the half owning Newbury 44-27.

In the second half, the Mules never let their margin fall bellow 12 points and were able to extend their margin over the Nighthawks with a 7-0 run, starting at 4:14.  Russell made a good layup to start off the charge.  Then, junior guard Ben Foreman (Los Angeles, Calif./ Brentwood) hit shot from beyond the arc.  Russell drew a foul and took two from the line, putting the score at 83-62 at 2:30, to give the Mules a 21-point edge, their largest of the game. 

In addition to Kriskus as the tournament MVP, the All-Tournament team consisted of Retos from Brandeis, Jones and Jackson from Curry, Russell from Colby and Bernard from Newbury.