After an impressive weekend, the Brandeis men’s basketball team improves to 6-1 in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The Judges defeated Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) 71-64 on Friday night in the Red Auerbach Arena. They also took down Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) 87-68 on Sunday. With these wins, the Judges are currently ranked 25th in Division III, and improve to 14-4 overall.
On Friday night it was Collin Sawyer ’20 who led the team with a game-high of 22 points. Sawyer had 13 points in the second half, and shot eight for 15 from the floor. He was also shooting 100 percent on free throws and had five rebounds and two steals for the team. CWRU had an early lead on Brandeis, up 6-5 in the first quarter, but after four points from Sawyer, Brandeis maintained the lead for the duration of the game. At the half the Judges led the Spartans 36-23 after a series of points from Darret Justice ’23. The Judges held CWRU to a 31 percent shooting average in the first half compared to Brandeis’ 50 percent.
In the second half, Sawyer came out hot with a huge three-pointer to give the Judges their largest lead of the game. With just over 15 minutes remaining in the half, the Judges were up 45-30, but CWRU was able to hold the Brandeis offense for five minutes. In the last 10 minutes of the game, the Spartans picked up speed and closed the Judges’ lead to 59-54 after hitting a three-pointer with five minutes left in the game. Brandeis regained its focus and went on to hold a five-point or greater lead the rest of the game, finishing on top 71-64.
As a team the Judges out-rebounded and had more assists than the Spartans 13-6. Matan Zucker ’23 led Brandeis in rebounds with a career high of eight. Sam Nassar ’23 was also a big contributor for the Judges with a high of four assists.
The Judges returned to the Auerbach Arena on Sunday afternoon to take on Carnegie Mellon. Their win against CMU was truly a team effort, in which five Brandeis players all scored in the double digits. The team also maintained the lead the entire game, never trailing to the Tartans. The Judges led 11-5 early in the first half until CMU fought back to tie the game at 22-22. With just over nine minutes left in the half, Nolan Hagerty ’22 gave the Judges two points off a layup and Eric D’Aguanno ’20 added to the scoring with a three-pointer on the next possession. Going into the half Brandeis had the lead 38-35.
The Judges came out of halftime on fire, going on a 13-0 run in the first three minutes of the second half. Dylan Lien ’23 put up back to back three-pointers to give the Judges a 51-35 lead. The Tartans were able to get within six points of the Judges until Brandeis ran away with the lead and finished the game 87-68.
Hagerty had a lights-out game for the Judges, leading the team in scoring with 16 points. He also boasted an impressive nine rebounds, six assists and three blocks. D’Aguanno also had a standout game for Brandeis, scoring 15 points off the bench. Nine of his 15 points were off three-pointers, making D’Aguanno just one three-pointer shy of the Brandeis career record of 231. Chandler Jones ’21 also added 14 points, and secured a double-double with 11 rebounds, his third of the season. Lien had a career best 14 points with a game high of four three-pointers, and Sawyer also added 13 points for the Judges.
Brandeis shot just over 52 percent from the floor and an impressive 50 percent from the three-point line. The Judges also out-rebounded the Tartans 45-34, showing their impressive offense and defense.
These wins also secured the Judges a winning season for 2019-2020. This is the Judges’ first back to-back winning season since 2013. Their win against CMU also earned Brandeis its best conference start in program history.
The Judges will move on to play Case Western and Carnegie Mellon for the second time of the season this weekend in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.