All-American guard John DiBartolomeo (Westport, CT/Staples) scored 36 points, 29 in the second half. He sank 19 of 19 free throws, breaking both the Palestra and Rochester single game records for successful free throws in one game. The mark was 18 free throws by Jim Klimschot (Webster) set in 1978 vs. RIT.
He tied the University Athletic Association record for made free throws. It was set by Charlie Borsheim of Washington University at Emory in 1993.
DiBartolomeo's effort offset three men in double figures for Brandeis. Ben Bartholdus (Hillsborough, NH/Proctor Academy) and Gabriel Moton (St. Petersburg, FL/St. Petersburg) scored 21 points each. Youri Dascy (Fall River, MA/St. Andrews School [RI]) scored 14 points.
Rochester, ranked number two in the nation, improved to 18-0 overall, 7-0 in the University Athletic Association. The Yellowjackets have a two-game lead in the standings on Brandeis (14-4, 5-2 UAA) and Emory (13-4, 5-2). Next weekend, Rochester plays at NYU on Friday and Emory goes to Brandeis. On Sunday, Rochester faces Brandeis and Emory visits NYU.
Brandeis, ranked No. 19 in the current poll, nearly became the third team this week to knock off a top three opponent. Top-ranked St. Thomas of Minnesota lost on Monday to Concordia-Moorhead. Third-ranked Middlebury College lost at Williams on Saturday.
Those losses mean Rochester will likely be voted the number one team in the nation on Monday.
With the game tied at 11-11, the Judges used an 11-4 run to take a seven-point lead, 22-15, with 6:50 left in the first half. Moton hit two three-pointers. Anthony Trapapsso (Sterling, MA/St. John's Prep) had one, and Dasci made a layup. The Judges held a 29-25 lead at halftime on the strength of 48% shooting from the floor (11 of 23), 63% outside the arc (5 of 8) and a 17-12 edge on the glass. Brandeis held Rochester to 8 of 24 from the field (33%), 3 of 12 three-pointers (25%).
"Defense has been the strength of our team all season long," said Brandeis coach Brian Meehan. "U of R has probably the best player in the country in Johnny (DiBartolomeo). I thought we did a pretty good job all game long."
Bartholdus was the first half sparkplug, hit a pair of treys enroute to 12 points in 16 minutes. Dasci and Moton had six points each.
"They are hard to guard," said Rochester coach Luke Flockerzi of the Judges. "We were not trusting our team defensive principles in the first half. Offensively, I thought we got good looks. We just did not shoot well."
The lead waivered between three points and seven points for much of the second half. Rochester would draw close and Brandeis would pull away. It peaked at eight points on a three-pointer by Bartholdus with 7:52 left (50-42).
DiBartolomeo scored seven straight points - a three-pointer, two free throws, and a jumper in the paint, to get the Yellowjackets within 50-49 with 5:47 remaining.
Dasci was fouled by Nate Vernon (Chapel Hill, NC/Carolina Friends) on a drive and knocked down two free throws (52-49) but DiBartolomeo evened it at 52-all with another three pointer. The game was tied two more times. Brandeis took what turned out to be its last lead on a conventional three-point play by Bartholdus, a layup and free throw after drawing Vernon's fourth foul (59-56 with 2:53 left).
DiBartolomeo made two free throws to get it within one, then found Kevin Sheehy (Syosset, NY/Chaminade) for a three-pointer that gave Rochester its first outright lead since early in the first half, 61-59, with 1:55 left. The Judges tied it twice - a pair of free throws by Moton, then a layup by Dasci (63-63 at 1:02).
DiBartolomeo sank two free throws after a foul by Bartholdus for a 65-63 lead. At the other end, Bartholdus missed a mid-range jumper and Tyler Sankes (Rochester, NY/McQuaid Jesuit) rebounded. He got the ball to DiBartolomeo who made two free throws with 11 seconds left (67-63).
Moton sank two free throws with 0:08 left before DiBartolomeo added two more at 0:06.
"At halftime, we regrouped and started to trust what we do a little bit better," said Flockerzi. "We were able to bear down on defense and we held on long enough to finally get the lead late in the game."
Meehan agreed. "I thought we went too much one on one," he said. "U of R did a good job defending us. We've got to hit shots."
Brandeis had only five players score. In addition to the three double figure scorers, Trapasso had five points and Connor Arnold (Andover, MA/Deerfield Academy) had four points. Seven of the 12 who played did not score. "We have enough guys to do it," Meehan said. "U of R has so many weapons." Eight players scored for the Yellowjackets. Vernon and Sheehy had seven points each. Tyler Seidman (Bellmore, NY/Holy Trinity) had six points.
The Judges head home to play four of their last seven UAA games at the Auerbach Arena. Brandeis has completed its two toughest road trips - Chicago/Washington and Emory/Rochester. "It will be nice to get home," Meehan said. "Playing the same opponents back to back makes preparation a little easier. You just saw them."
Flockerzi's not concerned about what the pollsters think this week. "Our team has to concentrate on the next game," he said. Rochester plays at NYU on Friday. "The (#1) ranking would make it even more of a challenge. We're excited about that."