by Victor Olowojoba
WALTHAM, MA - The Lasell College men's basketball team defeated Brandeis University in the season opener for both teams tuesday night, 91-82. The Lasers never trailed and withstood a late rally by the Judges who cut a 21-point halftime deficit to eight late in the game.
Four Lasers reached double-figures in the contest. Junior guard Sean Bertanza (Seymour, CT) scored a team high 17 points on 6-10 shooting and was a perfect 3-3 from downtown. He also led the team with nine rebounds and three steals. Senior guard Nate DiSessa (Westfield, MA) and sophomore guard Brandon Ganesh (Wellington, FL) each scored 15 points, while junior forward Sonny Mello (Fall River, MA) netted 13 points. Junior guard Arthur Alexander (Port St. Lucie, FL) led the team with five assists.
Bertanza drained a three pointer five seconds into the game and the Lasers never looked back. Lasell controlled the tempo throughout the course of the game, getting off high quality shots which resulted in them shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from three. The length of the Judges did pose a problem for the Lasers, getting outrebounded by Brandeis, 48-33, and giving up 21 second chance points. Lasell went into the half leading 47-26. The Lasers carried the momentum into the second half. Alexander nailed a three-pointer and assisted on a layup by senior Javon Williams (Mattapan, MA) to start the second half giving Lasell a 26-point lead, their largest of the game.
Brandeis was led by sophomore center Youri Dascy (Fall River, MA) who finished with game highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds and senior forward Vytas Kriskus (Kvedarna, Lithuania) who had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Three other players scored in double-figures for the Judges. Senior guard Tyrone Hughes (Dorchester, MA) and sophomore guard Derek Retos (North Attleboro, MA) each scored 10. Ben Bartoldus (Hillsborough, NH) chipped in with 13 points.
With 3:32 left to play in the game, Dascy put back a missed layup, got fouled and drained a free throw capping off a 21-9 run by the Judges and cutting the Lasers lead to eight points. This would be as close as Brandeis would get as Lasell quickly answered with two free throws from DiSessa and a layup from senior Dominik Orloff (Slupsk, Poland). The Lasers never looked back as Ganesh sealed the victory, making five free throws in the final minute.
The Judges couldn't handle the balanced attack of the Lasers as nine different players scored including 30 points from the bench. Dascy was a huge matchup problem, grabbing six offensive rebounds and getting to the foul line 10 times. The Judges as a team got to the line 38 times but shot just 60.5 percent missing 15 of them as opposed to Lasell who shot 78 percent from the line. Brandeis shot 36.5 percent from the field, making 27 of 74 shots.
Brandeis will look to rebound thursday night when they host Emerson College at 7 p.m. Lasell will play Nichols College in their home opener thursday evening at 7 p.m.