BOSTON – Thomas Duffy had a standout start to his sophomore season as his career-high 25 points led Suffolk men's basketball to a 75-67 season opening victory over Brandeis Wednesday night inside a standing room only Regan Gymnasium.
SCORE: Suffolk 75, Brandeis 67
RECORDS: Suffolk (1-0) | Brandeis (0-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Duffy put away the first shot of the evening from downtown in a first half that featured 15 three balls, – six from the Rams and nine by the Judges. After Duffy put the Rams on the board Kevin Querusio gave the blue-and-gold a 5-0 lead that would not stay for long as Brandeis charged ahead 7-5.
The score flip flopped three times from there before Cameron Powers swished a triple from the corner at the 12:03 minute mark to put the Rams ahead for good, 16-15. Suffolk built a five-point cushion multiple times down the stretch and coupled back-to-back hoops – a three-ball from Michael Hagopian, his third over the first 20 minutes, and a layup by Jim Djema to head into the locker rooms ahead by six, 39-33.
Duffy carried the run over into the second stanza to push Suffolk's edge to eight, but Brandeis hung around and made it a one-point game, 47-46, with a traditional three-point play by Latye Workman just five minutes into play.
Nathaniel Ilebode's first collegiate hoop put a three-point distance between the foes before Duffy slung his third three of the night to make it a 52-46 game with 12:27 remaining. Hagopian kept his shooting show alive when he knocked down his fourth shot from behind the arc and the Rams continued to roll as Cameron Powers made a baseline, finger roll layup to turn Suffolk's advantage to double digits, 57-46.
The Rams fell in foul trouble early as the Judges headed into the double bonus with just under 10 minutes remaining in the second stanza. The Judges used the trips to the charity stripe to their advantage and hung with Suffolk until just under the four-minute mark when Duffy hit nothing, but not from two steps inside half court to put 11-points between the competitors once again.
Down the stretch, Brandeis took its chances with sending Rams to the line, but the hosts took advantage of their opportunities to seal up the 75-67 win, its first season opening victory since the 2013-14 season.
- Duffy's 25 points came off a 9-for-17 performance from the floor, a 4-of-5 connection rate from behind-the-arc and a 3-for-6 showing at the line.
- Hagopian and George Grillakis complimented Duffy's double figure effort with some of their own. Hagopian registered 14 points with a 4-for-9 night in three-point lead to go along with six boards and one handout. Grillakis, meanwhile, chipped in 13 points, shooting 6-for-9, and added five caroms, one assist and one steal in a reserve effort.
- Djema had an all-around day, contribute dix boards, four points, four dimes and one takeaway.
- Querusio helped on the boards, pulling down six rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.
- Suffolk shot 43.1 percent (28-65) on the night including an impressive 41.4 showing (12-29) from three-point range.
- The Rams and the Judges had 32 rebounds apiece.
- Suffolk finished the with 12 three's, while Brandeis knocked down nine.
- Suffolk won its first season opener in the Jeff Juron era and first time in four years when the Rams defeated Western New England, 95-84, to tip-off the 2013-14 campaign.
- The win marks the first over Brandeis under Juron's leadership.
- The blue-and-gold lifted the lid on the season at home for the ninth time since 1976 and improved to 5-4 in season openers when playing on its home court.
- Suffolk defeated Brandeis for just the sixth time in the all-time series, which dates back to the Rams' second season, 1968.
- The Rams snapped the Judges' seven-game win streak in the all-time series and took down Brandeis for the first time in 16 years with their last win coming by a 78-75 decision Dec. 4, 2001.
- Suffolk and Brandeis met for the second-time on opening day with each team now owning one win apiece when facing one another in the first contest of the season.
- Duffy scored 20-plus points for just the second time in his career.
- Juron used the combination of Duffy, Hagopian, Querusio, Djema and Mulson as the starting five.
- Mulson, Ilebode and Alex Jacovides made their collegiate debut in blue-and-gold.
- Mulson and Ilebode each recorded their first collegiate points.
Suffolk heads out on the road for the first time in 2017-18 as it visits Williams over the weekend for the Williams Tip-Off Tournament. The Rams will open action versus first time opponent Stevens Friday Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. with the winner of the clash advancing to the championship where it will take on the victor of tournament host Williams or Salem State Saturday, Nov. 18.