D’Aguanno breaks men’s basketball records

February 28, 2020

On Feb. 7, the Judges traveled to Cleveland, OH where Eric D’Aguanno ’20 became the Judges’ all-time leader in three-pointers. There, the Brandeis men’s basketball team also fell short to Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), 84-76, for the first time this season. 

Tying the school’s record with his 231st three-pointer with 13:54 to go in the second half, D’Aguanno was able to contribute to the Judges’ 19-9 run, which came in the first seven minutes. When asked to describe this incredible milestone, D’Aguanno wrote in a message to The Brandeis Hoot, “it felt great, having my name in the history books was something I’ve always dreamed of when I got on campus; to see it actually happen is surreal.” Brandeis gained their first lead of the night with a three-pointer by junior guard Austin Clamage ’21, making the score 50-48.  

Over the next five possessions, the lead oscillated. CWRU’s two-pointer with 11:39 to go put the Spartans up 55-54. After trading empty possessions, Case Western scored the game’s next five points and the Spartans never trailed the Judges again. 

The Spartans were up 10 with 3:10 to go when D’Aguanno connected from behind the arc again, sinking his 232nd career three-pointer and breaking the record previously held by Derek Rentos ’14.

Collin Sawyer ’20 led all players with 22 points. D’Aguanno added 12 points, while tying for team-high honors with six rebounds and three assists. Rookie guard Dylan Lien ’23 finished with 11 on three three-pointers, while Chandler Jones ’21 led the Judges with four assists.

Nearly two days later, the Judges were able to bounce back, securing a win over Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) on Sunday morning in Pittsburgh, PA. The 25th-ranked team leaned on Jones who finished with a double-double.  

Struggling from the field in the first half, the Judges fell to CMU 36-29 heading into the locker room at halftime. The Tartans led by as many as eight points with just over five minutes to go in the half, but Brandeis closed within three with under a minute to go. The Judges could not lock down on defense, as they allowed the hosts to score the last four points of the half, taking a seven-point advantage.

In the second half, the Judges connected from behind the arc, hitting their first two three-pointers, as they started off on a 12-2 run, taking a 41-38 lead with a little over 17 minutes left to play. The Brandeis squad never trailed the hosts again, as their shooting percentages increased dramatically, hitting 51.6 percent overall and 50 percent from downtown. 

Jones and Sawyer each scored a team-high 17 points, as Jones also led the Judges with three assists, two blocked shots, and 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Rookie Matan Zucker ‘23 also contributed a career-high 10 points off the bench. Zucker also grabbed seven boards, as did classmate Darret Justice ’23 and center Nolan Hagerty ’22. 

With this win, the Judges clinched at least a .500 record in the UAA for the second consecutive season. Additionally, their season sweep of CMU is the first since the 2012-13 season.

Continuing their four-game road trip, the Judges traveled to Rochester, NY, ready to compete against the Yellowjackets. Unfortunately, the team struggled to contain the host University of Rochester (UR) offensively, as they shot nearly 60 percent from the field, including 67 percent in the second half; the Judges fell to their opponent 80-65.

The first half was exciting, as there were three ties and four lead changes. With just over five minutes to play, Brandeis owned a 26-23 lead after a pair of Clamage free throws. UR successfully held the Brandeis men to one basket for the rest of the half, a three-pointer from Lien that tied the game at 29 with a minute left before halftime. The Judges mentally headed into the locker room too soon, as the Yellowjackets secured the lead at the buzzer, 33-29. 

Early in the second half, the Judges remained competitive. Two early buckets by Hagerty made it 36-33 with 18 minutes to play in the contest. UR then scored 10 of the next 11 points, while also preventing the Judges from coming within single digits for the rest of regulation. The Yellowjackets missed only eight shots in the entire second half, shooting 16-of-24 from the field and 4-of-8 from downtown. They also out rebounded Brandeis 19-10, after the Judges had taken a 17-10 advantage on the glass heading into halftime.

Hagerty led the Judges with 15 points, 11 of which were supplied in the second half. D’Aguanno contributed 12 points off the bench, nine of which were scored before halftime. Justice led the Judges with five rebounds, while Jones had a team-high five assists.

On Sunday morning, the Judges competed against number nine-ranked Emory University, ending their four-game road trip. The Brandeis men’s team was unable to defeat the Eagles for the second time this season, as their five point halftime lead was their final lead of the contest. Hitting 71 percent from the floor in the second half, the Eagles defeated the Judges 93-65.

The Judges’ defense was tenacious in the first half, as they held Emory to just 36 percent shooting from the field and 29 percent from downtown. The Eagles were not as successful, allowing the Brandeis men to shoot 46 percent overall and 43 percent from deep, handing the Judges the halftime lead. Zucker provided the spark for the squad contributing eight points and four rebounds off the bench.

Brandeis was unable to contain the Eagles, who flew out of the locker room ready to attack. The hosts hit back-to-back three-pointers to reclaim the lead, which sparked their 14-0 run to start the half; four minutes into the half, Emory had a 46-37 lead over the Judges. 

After Coach Bain called a timeout to get his players back on the same page, guard Lawrence Sabir ’21 connected from deep. The Eagles answered with a similar shot, not allowing the Judges to get within nine points for the rest of the way.

Sawyer’s 14 points were not enough to defeat the Eagles. Jones contributed 10 points, while Sabir added nine points and a team-high four assists off the bench in his second game back from injury. Zucker finished with eight points, also off the bench, and a team-high eight rebounds. 

The Judges look to win their last three regular-season games over the next two weeks, as they finish the season with home court advantage at Red Auerbach Arena. 

This past weekend, the Judges returned home, ready to defeat Washington University at St. Louis (WashU) for the first time this season. Although Brandeis held a 38-34 lead at halftime, it was not enough to ward off the #13-ranked Bears who went on a 17-3 run midway through the second half, beating the Judges 77-70, for the second time this season. 

A tight race between the two teams in the first half, the game featured six ties and four lead changes, with neither team leading by more than five points. After a WashU three-pointer with three minutes to play, Brandeis trailed 30-28. The Judges were able to close the stanza on a 10-4 run on a D’Aguanno steal and a Jones dunk. D’Aguanno added another trifecta to the late run, finishing the half with six points, while Jones headed into the locker room with eight.

WashU returned to the hardwood fresh out of the locker room, feeding senior DeVaughn Rucker, who scored the team’s first seven points of the half. Brandeis was able to contain the Bears, remaining ahead, until WashU hit a three, giving the visitors a 49-48 lead with 12:50 to play in regulation. The Bears were able to hang on to their lead, as Brandeis was unable to capitalize on opportunities to regain the lead late in the game. Down by 11, the Judges drew a charge and Sawyer finished a layup on the following possession. After WashU was unable to connect from the line in the bonus, Jones sunk a three with under 30 seconds to go, making it a 75-70 game. Able to secure an offensive rebound and force two turnovers in the final seconds of the game, the Judges were unable to convert any of their second chances. 

Jones and D’Aguanno each scored 14 points to lead the Judges in the loss. Filling out the stat sheet, Jones finished with a game-high 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. This double-double was his sixth of the season. Sawyer also achieved double digits with 11 points.

In a double overtime victory against the University of Chicago (UChicago) on Sunday, D’Aguanno became the 33rd member of Brandeis’ 1,000-point club. An exciting match for the second time this season, the Judges were able to outlast the Maroons, 101-95, after trailing in overtime.

With 15:38 remaining in the second half, D’Aguanno sunk a jumper, scoring his 1,000th point in his collegiate career. When asked to describe this incredible milestone, D’Aguanno said to The Hoot, “It means so much to me, it is an honor. All of my teammates and coaches have been incredibly supportive of me throughout my four years and giving me the confidence to play my game; without them, I would have never reached my milestone.” He finished the game with 15 points and 1008 on his career, thus far. After D’Aguanno made his milestone basket, Brandeis was within six, after trailing by seven at halftime. UChicago answered his hoop with a 9-0 run, taking their biggest lead, 58-43, with 13:26 left in regulation. The Judges responded by scoring 21 of the game’s next 26 points, taking their first lead since the beginning of the match on Sawyer’s deep three with 5:58 to play.  

The lead oscillated five times over the next four minutes and a missed shot by Jones with 1:35 remaining kept the game tied at 71. The Maroons answered with a shot from downtown on the ensuing possession, but Jones located Sawyer on the left elbow with 54.8 seconds left to retie the game, 74-74. With 23 seconds to play in regulation, the Judges got a stop off of a missed 3-pointer from the Maroons, but their defense suspended Brandeis’s attempt to win in regulation. 

After trading baskets early in the first overtime, Lien connected from behind the arc on a tough, off-balance look, followed by Jones’ layup that made it 83-78 with 1:42 on the clock. Jones was unable to convert on the three-point play, but Sabir was able to push the lead back to six off of a driving layup after Chicago made one-of-two from the stripe; with 1:02 on the clock, the Judges had the advantage, 85-79. 

With 38.1 seconds remaining, D’Aguanno was sent to the line, where he hit one-of-two, increasing the lead to 86-79. UChicago successfully answered with a three, forcing the Maroons to foul in order to stop the clock. Sabir was unable to capitalize from the foul line with 26.4 seconds to go, which allowed the visitors to push the ball. Missing a three-pointer, the Maroons had nothing to fear as they retrieved the offensive rebound, finishing with contact. Although UChicago missed the free throw, the ball went out of bounds off of Judges, which allowed the Maroons to score on the following possession, tying up the game again, 86 all with 8.9 seconds remaining. Out of timeouts, the Judges pushed the ball and again missed the game-winner. 

In the second overtime session, both teams traded misses before D’Aguanno connected. UChicago answered from the line, but Justice drew a foul on his way to the rim, converting to make it 91-88 with 3:12 to play in the second OT.

The Maroons regained those three points, but a costly foul sent Jones to the line, who drained both free throws to give the hosts the lead for good, 93-91. Brandeis remained in control from then on out, as Jones nailed a three and hit four more free throws to further increase the lead. 

Sawyer led all scorers with a career-high 27 points, while Jones finished with 21 points and a team-high 10 boards for his seventh double-double of the season. Lien contributed with a career-best 18 points, while D’Aguanno added 15 to the mix. 

The Judges return to action this Saturday at 3 p.m. in Red Auerbach Arena as they celebrate Senior Day against UAA rival New York University.

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