WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore forward Ben Bartoldus scored 11 of his career-high 23 points in the first seven minutes of the second half and Brandeis never trailed after the break as they knocked off No. 2 Amherst 76-61 margin. The win is Brandeis’s third in a row and evens its record at 5-5, while the Lord Jeffs suffer their first loss and fall to 8-1.
A back and forth first half saw four ties and four lead changes. Brandeis jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, but six unanswered points by the Jeffs at the midpoint of the stanza put the visitors up 20-14 on a bucket by senior Taylor Barrise.
After the sides traded hoops, Brandeis responded with a jumper by junior Anthony Trapasso that cut the lead back to two, while a Bartoldus 3-pointer at the 7:47 mark put the Judges ahead for good at 23-22. Amherst was able to stay within one possession until a key momentum shift at the end of the period. Trailing by one with the shot clock off, the Lord Jeffs got a turnover and could have held for the last shot.
They missed a 3-pointer with about 15 seconds left, and the Judges sprinted the other way. Senior guard Tyrone Hughes drove the lane and found Vytas Kriskus wide open in the corner, where he drained a trifecta and reestablished the four-point lead 32-28 at the break. The bomb gave Kriskus a game-high nine first-half points to go with six rebounds. Junior Willy Workman led the Lord Jeffs with eight points at the break.
Bartoldus and the Judges opened the second half on fire offensively, connecting on seven of their first eight shots during the first 6:28 to outscore Amherst 17-8 during that span. Bartoldus had 11 of the team’s points in that stretch, hitting two 3-pointers and capping the run with a traditional three-point play that made the score 49-36. Amherst was able to close back within six on a couple of occasions, with a Barisse put-back at the 10:51 mark cutting the deficit to 50-44.
A nice move by Bartoldus, followed by two Workman free throws had the lead still at six with 9:44 left before the Judges embarked on a 14-4 run, kicked off by an offensive put-back and free throw by sophomore center Youri Dascy. After two Hughes foul shots with just under five minutes to go made it 66-50, the Judges were able to keep the lead in double figures the rest of the way. Brandeis ended up shooting 60 percent from the field (12-20) in the second half — including 71 percent from beyond the arc (5-7) — while holding Amherst to 33 percent (10-30) overall and 18 percent from long range (2-11) to keep the visitors at bay.
Bartoldus established a new career-high for the second game in a row with his 23 points, 15 of which came in the second half. He connected on 9-of-16 overall, 3-of-3 from behind the arc and 2-of-4 from the line. Kriskus just missed his second double-double of the season with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds. He hit 6-of-8 overall, with all three 3-pointers, and a pair from the line. Dascy was the third Brandeis player in double figures with 13 points, while grabbing seven rebounds. Hughes finished with eight points — hitting all of his free throws down the stretch — and a game-high eight assists, one shy of a career-best. The Judges’ 52 percent shooting for the game (26-50) was their second-best performance of the season, while holding Amherst to a season-low 37.3% (22-59).