With tenacious ‘D,’ N.Y.U. jams Judges, stays unbeaten at home

After Brandeis had started to pull away, Iyoha Agho (12, with ball) hit a key 3-point shot to spark N.Y.U.’s offense.   Photo by daniel-jean lubin

After Brandeis had started to pull away, Iyoha Agho (12, with ball) hit a key 3-point shot to spark N.Y.U.’s offense. Photo by daniel-jean lubin

BY DANIEL-JEAN LUBIN   |  New York University men’s basketball team picked up its fifth straight victory thanks to a hard-fought 64-58 win over Brandeis University on last Saturday at Coles gym in the Village.

The Violets (11-1) once again received valuable contributions from sophomore starters Evan Kupferberg and Costis Gontikas, with both scoring in double digits. Kupferberg also pulled down eight rebounds, in addition to his game-high 18 points, while playing 37 minutes.

The Jan. 11 matchup against the Judges (8-4) was the Violets’ first University Athletic Association game of the season. Entering the Saturday afternoon contest, N.Y.U. was averaging 74 points per game and on a four-game winning streak. Brandeis came to town coming off a pair of home wins in which they held their opponents to under 75 points.

The Violets scored the first five points of the game, but after shaking off the early rust, the Judges got into the action, and the scoring went back and forth.

After climbing back into things and cutting New York University’s lead to just 2 points, 9-7 the Judges sunk three consecutive 3-pointers to take the lead.

With just under 10 minutes left in the first half and with N.Y.U. trailing by 2 points, sophomore Max Ralby knocked down a go-ahead 3 from the top of the key, putting the score at 24-23.

The Violets led most of the rest of the way until the final 1:44 of the first half, when Brandeis guard Derek Retos came up big as he drained back-to-back 3-pointers within the span of 35 seconds, putting Brandeis back on top 36-34 as the half ended.

The second half began with the Judges and Violets trading buckets. At the 11:43 mark of the half, with Brandeis ahead by 8 points — the biggest lead of the game — Iyoha Agho sparked N.Y.U.’s offense with a 3-pointer, cutting the visitors’ lead to 52-47.

After that, N.Y.U. shut the door defensively, keeping Brandeis to just 6 points the rest of the way, while driving the play offensively, closing out the game with a 12-4 run to win by 6.

The Violets remain undefeated at their gym on Mercer St. this season, posting a conference best 9-0 record at home.

The Violets will be on the road next weekend for a pair of U.A.A. games. N.Y.U. will face the University of Chicago (7-5) on Jan. 17. They’ll then face Washington University (10-2) in St. Louis on Jan. 19. N.Y.U. will return home for more conference play on Jan. 24 when they’ll host Emory University (9-3).

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