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Men’s basketball starts the season strong

The first weekend in November has passed, meaning that for the University Athletic Association (UAA) the fall sports season has come to an end. But with that comes the start of the new winter 2022-2023 season! The men’s basketball team here at Brandeis University has started their season in a commanding fashion in their first four games.

On Nov. 7 the team hit the road for their first game against the University of New Hampshire (UNH). This game saw the judges take on the Division I Wildcats in an exhibition game. While this game doesn’t count for the Judges’ season record, it does for the Wildcats. To begin the game, Brandeis started out strong taking the lead 7 to 4. But come half-time, the Judges were down 14 points with the score being 39 to 25. Unfortunately, the Judges could not come back from the Wildcats’ lead. Brandeis was able to reduce the Wildcats’ lead to 24 from 32 with an impressive 3-point shot coming from sophomore Toby Harris ’25. But after that the University of New Hampshire could not be stopped as they scored 18 points without any coming from the Judges to make the game score 63-32. UNH dominated the game as at one point they had a 35-point lead, but at the end of the game the final score was Brandeis 47 and the University of New Hampshire 79. 

Harris was the Judges’ leading scorer with 16 points in the game. He successfully hit two of six 3-pointers and seven of eight shots from the field. He was also the Judges’ leader in rebounds with five. Junior Ryan Power ’24 was not far behind with 12 points for the team, successfully scoring three of five from the floor and six out of seven from the line. This game was the first time Brandeis had played the University of New Hampshire since 1975 when Brandeis won 78 to 75. This was also the first time Brandeis had played a Division I school since their 2010 match against the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Fortunately, this match does not count towards the Judges’ record this season and serves Brandeis merely as an exhibition match. 

The Judges then began their regular season on Wednesday, Nov. 9 with a game against Salem State University at home. In a game that ended with Brandeis winning 77 to Salem State’s 58, this season opener set the team on the right foot. Throughout the entire game, Brandeis was never behind Salem State. Harris hit the first two buckets of the game to score a total of six points. This game would go on to be a career-high for Harris as he ended up scoring 30 points throughout the entire game. With 11 minutes and 19 seconds on the clock, Brandeis had a commanding 19-3 lead against Salem State. It took a while for the Vikings to figure out their game plan but come halftime the Judges were firmly leading the game with the score being 44 to 27. Twenty-five of Harris’ points came from the first half. The judges did not slow down as first-year guard Ethan Edwards ’26 came off the bench to score 10 points in his first collegiate game. When the final whistle blew 10 of the 12 Judges’ players who were on the court made it into the scoring column with none of them, unfortunately, having rebounds. Brandeis ended their first regular-season game in the right direction with a commanding win over Salem State University. 

The Judges carried their momentum from the win of their first game into their second regular-season game against Rhode Island College at Brandeis. Rhode Island College started the game strong against the Judges tying them twice in the first half at 8-all and 13-all. But after the game was tied at 13-all the Judges went on a 12-3 run which put them firmly in the lead of the game and Brandeis never let it go. The Judges had an impressive shooting percentage compared to the Anchormen, with 53% of shots completed from the field and 55% completed from the 3-point range; this compared to Rhode Island College who had 35% in the field and 20% from the 3-point line. This drastic difference in shot percentage allowed Brandeis to firmly take the lead at halftime ending at 42 to 26. The second half saw an incredibly similar structure to the first in which Brandeis was able to outscore Rhode Island College and every way with the exception of rebounds. This is what propelled the judges to their commanding win over Rhode Island College of 90 to 62. For senior Sam Adusei ’23 and Edwards, this was a huge game as both were able to earn career highs in scoring with both getting to double-digits in the game. 

The Judges continued a very impressive beginning to the regular season with two wins and zero losses. Playing their fourth game and third season game at Emmanuel College, the Judges were able to keep their winning streak, but only by the skin of their teeth! The first half of the game was entirely dominated by Brandeis who never trailed in regulation time. In the first half, Brandeis led by as many as 14 points and due to the impressive work by senior Dylan Lien ’23, who hit a 3-pointer with one minute and 28 seconds left in the first half, was able to keep it at an  11-point contest. This was before Emmanuel was able to get back two points before the first half closed out. The Judges were leading at the end of the first half of the game 44 to 35. Power was able to lead the judges in the first half with 14 points, a career-high for him in the first 20 minutes of the game. 

In the early part of the second half, Brandeis was able to keep Emmanuel College away with a comfortable lead of anywhere from five to 12 points. But with seven minutes and 43 seconds to go in the second half, Emmanuel College, who were 10 points behind, were able to keep Brandeis scoreless for the next four minutes. With this shocking defense coming from the Saints they were able to tie up the game 69-69 with four minutes and 37 seconds left in the second half. The teams traded back and forth who had the two-point lead over the other end with one minute and 42 seconds to go; Edwards hit a 3-pointer, giving Brandeis the lead 74-71. Brandeis believed this would be enough to take the game home but with a fouled two-point shot from Emmanuel and a completed free throw, Emmanuel College was able to tie up the game in the final seconds 74-74. Sending the game into overtime the two teams only had a few minutes to pull away from each other. Adusei was able to score the opening point in overtime but Emmanuel College answered that shot with a 3-pointer. This gave Emmanuel College a one-point lead with three minutes and 11 seconds to go in overtime.

Emmanuel College then scored two points giving them a 79-76 lead with two minutes and 20 seconds remaining. Brandeis did their best to come back, scoring one layup but in a moment that defined the game with Brandeis down by one and only 3.1 seconds left on the clock the Judges worked the ball around the outside where Edwards found Harris! Harris was able to drain a 3-point shot with moments left in the game. That shot cemented Brandeis’ win over Emmanuel College 81 to 79.

Brandeis now takes a firm lead in the regular season as they have three wins on their record. They hope to continue this stride at their next game on Saturday as they hit the road to play nearby rival Lasell College.

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