WALTHAM, MA – The University of Rochester men's basketball team shot a season high 52% from the floor and clamped down for its best defensive performance of the season in a 77-53 win over Brandeis University on Friday evening at the Auerbach Arena.
The Yellowjackets (8-5, 1-1 UAA) held the Judges to just four field goals and 15% shooting in the second half to earn their first UAA conference victory of the season. Brandeis slips to 6-7 overall and 0-2 in the conference with the loss.
Rochester was led by junior Sam Borst-Smith who scored a game high 18-points, adding 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Three others scored in double figures for UR with Jared Seltzer and Jacob Wittig scoring 11 points each while sophomore Tucker Knox chipped in a career high 10 points off the bench.
Brandeis was held without a player scoring in double-figures, even though 12 different players scored for the hosts. Robinson Vilmont led the Judges with 9 points while John Powell scored six.
The first half was a back-and-forth, fast paced 20 minutes as both teams shot above 50% from the floor. UR was at 59% in the opening half while Brandeis made 55% of their attempts. Brandeis held its biggest lead of the half at 18-14 after a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Michael McReynolds 3-pointer.
Rochester would answer with a 9-2 rush to grasp a 27-23 lead with 6:43 to play before halftime. The Yellowjackets pushed the margin out to seven at the break, heading to the locker room with a 46-39 edge.
"After giving up 50%-plus shooting in the first half, we knew we needed better defense," said UR Head Coach Luke Flockerzi, "our guys came out and stepped it up in the 2nd half".
Step it up they did, as the Yellowjackets combined to outscore Brandeis 31-14 en route to the 24-point victory, the 2nd largest of the 2015-16 season.
The second half started out strong for UR, as the Yellowjackets scored 19 of the first 23 points to amass a 22 point lead at 65-43 with just under 12 minutes to play. The run was sparked by three 3-pointers and five points from Knox who provided strong bench play for the second straight game.
Overall in the game, Rochester was 27-52 (52%) from the floor compared to Brandeis who finished at 37% (21-57) after it went cold in the second half. UR made eight 3-pointers and was 15-20 from the free throw line, outscoring its hosts in both categories. Rochester also had a six rebound advantage (36-30) on the glass and committed only seven turnovers.
The Yellowjackets will next travel to New York City for a tilt with 15th ranked NYU on Sunday in a game set for 12 pm. That contest will be the final game at NYU's Coles Sports Center for the foreseeable future as the athletic complex in the Bronx will undergo a major renovation project over the next few years.
NYU will enter that one coming off its first loss of the season which came on Friday at the hands of UR's travel partner in the UAA, Emory University. The Eagles topped the Violets 71-64 to drop NYU's record to 11-1 on the year.