Men’s basketball honors two on senior day, Jones and Sawyer receive all-UAA recognition

Men’s basketball honors two on senior day, Jones and Sawyer receive all-UAA recognition

March 6, 2020

Prior to the Judges’ final home game of the season against New York University (NYU), Brandeis University honored seniors Eric D’Aguanno ’20 and Collin Sawyer ’20.  D’Aguanno has truly left his mark on the hardwood, as he will graduate with a school record 244 career three-pointers, while also landing 30th on the all-time scoring list with 1,015 points.  Sawyer finished this season with 959 points and 168 three-pointers, seventh all-time, and will be returning next year for a medical hardship season. Both seniors have had an incredible impact on the men’s basketball program, and D’Aguanno and Sawyer’s senior leadership was evident in this Saturday afternoon matchup when the Judges defeated the Violets, 72-69, in regulation.

With this senior day victory over UAA rival NYU, the Judges finished 17-8 overall, 9-5 in conference play.  This is the men’s highest regular-season win total since the 2012-13 season, and their best UAA record since the 2009-10 season.  The Violets, though, finished 8-17 overall, and 1-13 in the UAA.

The game was exciting, as the lead changed four times in the first seven minutes of the game.  NYU held a 14-13 advantage on a lay-up with 13 minutes to go, but the Judges answered by scoring the next 12 points, including eight consecutive points from Sawyer.  Rookie Matan Zucker’s ’23 put-back off of Sawyer’s only miss in the stretch gave Brandeis a 23-14 lead at the midpoint of the first half. With just under five minutes to go, the Judges remained ahead by nine off of Chandler Jones’ ’21 jumper.  The Violets scored seven consecutive points to cut the Judges’ lead to two, but a late Dylan Lien ’23 jumper secured the Brandeis lead, 34-30, heading into the locker room.  

Scoring eight of the first 10 points of the second half, the Violets went on another big run, taking a 38-36 lead off of a three with 17 minutes to play.  Brandeis Head Coach Jean Bain called a quick timeout and Lien answered from downtown to gain the Judges the advantage for good. The Brandeis men extended their lead to seven points, but were unable to pull away, allowing NYU to climb within one. 

Jones sunk a couple of big three-pointers with under five minutes to play in regulation, which helped maintain the Judges’ lead, especially as Bain instructed his team to slow the pace and utilize the shot clock.  Junior guard Lawrence Sabir ’21 finished a layup with 2:57 remaining that made it 70-64, but that was Brandeis’ final bucket of the game. On the next possession, NYU sunk two from the stripe to cut the deficit to 70-66 with 2:34 to play.  After a couple of defensive stops, the Violets hit a three-pointer with 48.1 left that put the visitors within one, 70-69. On the ensuing possession, the Judges put the ball in Jones’ hands, but he was unable to finish on a crafty take to the rim. 

NYU called a timeout with 15.1 seconds on the clock.  Inbounding the ball directly in front of their bench, the Violets got the ball in to Macarchuk, who drove the lane, only to meet Zucker, established in the paint, ready to take the charge with 6.8 remaining.  The Violets then fouled D’Aguanno who hit both free throws, like a veteran, with 5.2 left on the clock, making it a three-point game. NYU had a good look on the next possession, but were unable to hit the game-tying shot, giving Brandeis the win.

Jones led the Judges with a team-high 17 points, 10 of which were scored in the second half.  He sunk 4-5 from downtown while also leading the Judges with eight boards and two steals. Sawyer finished with 16 points, 13 of which were scored in the second half, too.  Both he and rookie Lien hit three three-pointers; Lien contributed 11 points. Sabir totaled 10 points and a team-high four assists.  

In the final game of the season, the Judges shot 44.1 percent from the floor and 41.4 percent from beyond the arc. Additionally, the Brandeis men had their best game of the season taking care of the ball, committing just two turnovers, while forcing 13; the men outscored the Violets 12-2 in points off turnovers. 

The team also had two members receive all-association honors from the UAA this season. Jones and Sawyer were both names to the all-UAA First Team for their efforts throughout the 2019-2020 year. Sawyer led the team in scoring 15.6 per game to place him fourth in the UAA, with Jones coming in slightly after at 13.8 point per game to be the Judges’ second leading scorer. Jones also led the team in three other categories including 7.5 rebounds per game, 24 overall steals and 23 total blocked shots. This is Jones’ second time receiving association honors after being given an honorable mention after his sophomore year. Sawyer comes in with his first All-UAA recognition after leading the Judges in three pointers made this season (57) and being fifth in the conference for this statistic. Sawyer will return to the floor next year for the Judges as a graduate student. The Brandeis men’s basketball team will return to the court next October to begin their 2020-2021 season.

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