Facing one of their most difficult weekends of the year, the UR men’s basketball team came away splitting a pair of away matchups with New York University and Brandeis University last weekend.
On Friday, Feb. 1, the ‘Jackets brought their number-one ranked squad to NYU to take on the Violets, fighting hard but eventually falling 65-61, ending their winning streak of 18 games. Against Brandeis on Sunday, Feb. 3, UR rebounded nicely from their first loss of the season, defeating the Judges 66-59 for their second straight win over the UAA Conference rivals.
Against NYU, the ‘Jackets struggled against the tight defense of their opponents, who made it a priority to stop Rochester’s top scorer, senior John DiBartolomeo. A smothering defense limited DiBartolomeo to just 12 points, his second lowest point total of the season. Despite a 6-0 lead to start the game, NYU responded with a 19-3 run. NYU’s Ryan Tana led the way for the home team with 18 points, including four three-pointers, while Kyle Stockmal followed closely with 17. In addition to DiBartolomeo’s 12 points, junior Nate Vernon put up 11 of his own, nine of which came from three-point field goals.
Coming off their first loss of the season, UR responded remarkably well against Brandeis, a team that put up a great fight against the ‘Jackets at the Palestra only a week prior.
DiBartolomeo knocked in 22 points, none more crucial than a three-pointer as the shot clock expired. The shot put the visitors up by eight and thwarted a Brandeis comeback. Leading the charge for Brandeis was Gabriel Moton, who scored 17 points. Alex Stoyle made 15 as well as nine rebounds. With their win, UR takes a two-game lead at the top of the UAA Conference standings, with Brandeis and Washington University at St. Louis trailing behind.
The ‘Jackets look to remain atop the conference rankings as they spend another weekend on the road. With only five games remaining in the regular season, Rochester will surely be looking to gain momentum as it enters the much anticipated postseason in March.
Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.