March 12, 2010



Williamstown, MA-Brandeis University ended Rhode Island College's run in the NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Tournament with a 76-65 loss in a game played at Williams College's Chandler Gymnasium. The Judges (22-6) advance to the Elite Eight where they will face the winner of SUNYIT and Williams (8 p.m.) tomorrow evening at 7 p.m.


 RIC (22-8), which reached the Sweet 16 for the second time in four years, sees a nine-game winning streak, which began on Feb. 6, come to and end. Senior guard Jake Grimes (Providence, RI) scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half, while adding five rebounds, four assists, one block and a steal.



 Senior guard Jake Grimes


 Sophomore forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) chipped in with 10 points, while junior forward Darius Debnam (Dorchester, MA) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds to go along with eight points.


 "Give Brandeis a lot of credit, they were able to keep us out of a rhythm with their defensive effort, and we couldn't string enough stops together to win the game," RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh said afterwards. "We don't feel very good right now, but we put together a terrific season. To win our league by three games, win our tournament and make it to the round of 16 with eight new players and only one senior, says a lot about the level of player we've been able to recruit and the culture we have developed at Rhode Island College."



 Three-point shots Choice and junior guard Nick Manson (Newport, RI) helped Rhode Island College build a 9-4 lead with 17:12 left in the first half. Brandeis senior guard Kenny Small (Stratford, CT) answered  back by sinking a three-pointer to get the Judges within a bucket, 9-7, at 16:51.


 RIC proceeded to go on an 11-4 run over the next 4:19 to build a 20-11 advantage with 12:53 remaining. Two buckets by sophomore forward Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) and a three-pointer from junior forward Carl Lee (Warwick, RI) helped fuel the run.


 Brandeis clamped down defensively and erupted for a 12-0 run to go up by three, 23-20, at the 7:02 mark. Sophomore forward Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania) drained two three-balls, while senior forward Terrell Hollins (Springfield, MA) contributed a pair of layups.


 A Lee dunk capped a RIC comeback to tie the game, 26-26, at 3:15, but the Judges responded with a Hollins layup and a Kriskus jumper to go back up by four, 30-26, at 2:29. After a Kriskus free throw put Brandeis up by five, consecutive jump shots by RIC junior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) and Grimes brought the Anchormen within a point, 31-30, with just over 90 seconds left in the stanza.


 Gray tied the game up, 33-all, with a three-point basket with 50 seconds left, and after a Lee steal, Grimes was fouled and made one of two from the line to send RIC into halftime up by one, 34-33.


 The Anchormen shot 42 percent (13-for-31) from the field in the first half and sank 5-of-13 from downtown for a 38-percent clip. The Judges shot 46 percent (13-for-28) from the field and drained 3-of-4 from three-point land.


 Rhode Island College quickly increased its advantage to six points, 39-33, as Debnam sank a three and Choice made a layup within the first 47 seconds of the second half.


 Small responded for the Judges, draining a jumper, layup and cashing in a three to put Brandeis back on top, 40-39, at 17:19. Choice answered with a three-pointer to give RIC a two-point lead, but Brandeis ran off 11 straight to build a nine-point, 51-42, lead with 13:43 left in the contest.


 Four Judges helped spark the run as Hollins contributed a layup and a free throw, Small sank three from the charity stripe and Kriskus capped the run with a trifecta. The large lead was short-lived as Grimes personally fueled an eight-point run with two treys and a jumper to pull RIC within three, 53-50, over the next 90 seconds.


 The hot shooting by the former Saint Raphael Academy guard continued as Grimes sank another long-ball to cut the Judges' advantage down to just two points, 55-53 at 10:42. Kriskus kept RIC from tying the game and increased Brandeis' lead to five points, 58-53, at 9:19.


 Grimes sank another jumper and a Debnam layup with 7:54 left pulled RIC within one, 58-57. Two more free throws by Debnam allowed the Anchormen to briefly regain the lead, 59-58, at the 7:10 mark. However, tt would be the last time RIC would lead in the game.


 Brandeis quickly re-grouped for an 9-0 run to go up by eight, 67-59, keyed by five points from Small, with 3:48 left. A junior forward Christian Yemga (Yaounde, Cameroon) free throw kept the Judges' lead at eight, 71-63, with 2:41 left.


 Free throws by senior guard Andre Roberson (Springfield, MA) and Kriskus helped seal the victory down the stretch.


 Small and Hollins each scored 20 points for Brandeis, while Kriskus, who buried four three-pointers, was one off his teammates' pace.


 For the game, RIC shot 38 percent from the field (25-for-65), 33 percent from downtown (10-for-30) and made 5-of-6 from the free throw line. The Judges shot 51 percent from the floor (28-for-55), made a timely 6-for-13 from downtown and sank 14-of-18 from the line. Brandeis outrebounded RIC by nine, 40-31.