The Brandeis University men’s basketball team took on Tufts University in the opening round of the New England Big Four Challenge. Despite a big night from Chandler Jones ’21 with 25 points, tying his career high, the Judges’ three-game winning streak would come to an end as they fell 68-61 to the Jumbos. Tufts established their lead in the first half through hot shooting, a total of 48 percent from the field and 50 percent from a three point range, while the Judges shot just 31 percent and 20 percent, respectively. However, Brandeis got back into the game just four minutes into the second half as they outscored Tufts 13-4. Jones scored the final nine points of that run, with two trifectas and a traditional three point play. Both teams hit a cold stretch offensively, with not a single point being scored for nearly two and a half minutes. Lawrence Sabir ’21 ended the drought with a lay-up, stole the ball to feed Jones for a layup which got the Judges within one point at 53-52 with 7:24 remaining. The lead continued to change hands before Collin Sawyer ’20 gave the Judges their largest lead, 61-58 with around three minutes remaining. Unfortunately, this would be the last time the Judges would score, as Tufts held them to 0-3, forcing two turnovers the rest of the way. Jones led all players with 25 points on 10-22 shooting from the field, 3-6 from the three point range and 2-3 from the free throw line. Sabir and Nolan Hagerty ’22 each finished with 10. Hagerty also added five rebounds and a team-high four assists.
In their next contest in the New England Big Four Challenge, the Judges defeated Salem State University. Brandeis was led once again by a terrific performance by Jones, who was able to eclipse his career high with 26 points, hitting 10-12 overall. Jones also pulled down seven rebounds, not to mention dished out a game-high and career-high seven assists. His performances were recognized as Jones earned a spot on the All-Tournament team. Also reaching double figures in scoring were a pair of reserve sharpshooters in Eric D’Aguanno ’20 and Austin Clamage ’21. D’Aguanno scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half, when he hit 5-7 from beyond the arc. With his six three pointers for the contest, D’Aguanno is now in sole possession of second place on the Judges’ career list with 218 trifectas, 13 behind all-time leader Derek Retos ’14. Clamage netted 15 of his 17 in the final 20 minutes, connecting 5-6 from downtown. Hagerty led the Judges with 10 rebounds, finishing one basket shy of a double-double with eight points. He also tied his career high in assists with six.
In their first game of 2020, the Judges picked up a road win over Bowdoin College, 65-62. The Judges scored 15 straight points early on, then held off a couple late charges to come away with the win, improving their record to 7-3 for the second season in a row.
After the Polar Bears scored the first two baskets of the game, coach Jean Bain called a quick timeout. The Judges responded by holding Bowdoin scoreless over the next five minutes, while hitting six of their next nine shots to take a 15-4 lead at the 13:38 mark. The Judges led by as many as 16 points before taking a 42-39 lead into the half. Bowdoin made their run in the second half, scoring 11 unanswered points on three pointers over the next three and a half minutes to cut the Brandeis lead 52-50 with 6:32 remaining.
The Judges responded with a small run of their own, scoring the next two buckets to push it back to a two-possession game, 56-50, on another hoop by Jones. A three-pointer from Dylan Lien ’23 and Jones basket would give the Judges a 63-54 lead with 2:47 to go. But the Polar Bears would not go away, scoring the next eight points, making it a 63-62 game with just 31 seconds left. Bowdoin would commit a pair of fouls to send Brandeis to the line for a one-and-one. The Judges missed, but Jones was there to secure the rebound as Bowdoin fouled again and the same scenario played out. Brandeis missed another front end with Jones cleaning up the offensive glass. He drew the foul as he went back up for the put-back, hitting one of two from the line to make it a two point game, 64-62, with 22 seconds remaining. Bowdoin still had a chance to tie or take the lead, but a Sabir steal put the game away as he was fouled, sending him to the line where he would also hit one of two, for the final score of 65-62.
Brandeis put four players in double figures in scoring led by Jones with 16 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Sawyer and D’Aguanno each scored 11 points. Sawyer had nine in the first half, while D’Aguanno, who had 11, came off the bench and outscored the entire Bowdoin reserves. Hagerty, playing in front of a hometown crowd, notched his second career double-double with 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Sabir led all players with five assists.