Udine, Burns lead team to victory

Patrick Burns takes a shot from in deep against Rutgers on Wednesday.

Ross Udine may be just a freshman, but in NYU men’s basketball’s 68-65 win over Rutgers-Camden on Wednesday, he played with the confidence of a seasoned veteran. With just under 15 ticks left on the clock and the Violets down two, Udine pulled up for a three off a screen from junior teammate Evan Kupferberg and nailed it, effectively keeping NYU’s season alive.

“I just saw the defender go under the screen, and as a shooter when you see that you have to shoot it,” Udine said. “No matter how many you miss, in your head you always think the next one is going in.”

The Violets went on to win the game by three after two free throws from junior forward Patrick Burns sealed the deal. They will now move on to the second round of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.

“I can’t believe Ross took that shot at the end of the game,” Burns said. “It took a lot of confidence to take that shot, coming off a screen to shoot a fadeaway three. I can’t believe a freshman took that shot, I was so proud of him.”

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However, Udine struggled for the majority of the game. He had a string of turnovers in the first half that planted him on the bench. But where Udine struggled, Burns picked up the slack. The junior finished with a game-high 21 points on just 13 attempts, and battled down low all night through contact that went uncalled by
the referees.

With a 10-point cushion, the Violets dominated the beginning of the second half. However, some sloppy play from NYU allowed the Raptors to roar all the way back to tie the game at 56, and it looked like they were going to pull away. The momentum was all in Rutgers-Camden’s favor after Harris fouled out of the game and senior Raptors wingman Alex Smart threw down a monster dunk on a fastbreak.

It was Burns and Udine who came up big with under five minutes to go in the game. Burns battled down low with opposing big men and would not let the Violets go down by more than six. He had several big put-backs off misses from teammates, and totaled an impressive 16 rebounds to go with his 21 points.

“That’s what I try to bring every game — energy and aggressiveness,” Burns said. “It was my type of game today.”

The stars for the Violets, Harris and Kupferberg, had frustrating nights. Harris had a slow start before coming on strong at the end of the first half, but in the second half he was completely out of sync due to foul trouble. Though he finished with 17 rebounds, Kupferberg scored just 10 points on 16 attempts, struggling to finish around the rim. He did not get to the line at all, as the referees called a very
loose game. 

“When it’s not going your way, you just have to focus in more and just keep playing your game,” Udine said.

Thanks to his last second clutch shot, the Violets will get another chance to do just that in their quest for the ECAC championship.

A version of this article appeared in the March 5 print edition. Email Bobby Wagner at [email protected]

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