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Brandeis men’s basketball takes on Case Western and Carnegie Mellon

The Brandeis men’s basketball team faced University Athletic Association (UAA) opponents Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for the first time this season. While the Judges shot a respectable 50% from the field (26-52) against CWRU on Friday night, the Spartans shot lights out from behind the arc to beat the Judges on their home court, 91-71. On Sunday afternoon, the Judges had the shooting edge in the first half, 55.6% to 43.5%, leading by 10 heading into the locker room; unfortunately, though, while Brandeis did score the first nine of the 11 points in the second half to increase their lead to 17, Coach Jean Bain’s squad was unable to maintain their pace, ultimately falling short to the CMU Tartans 65-64. 

In the Judges’ Friday night match-up against the CWRU Spartans, Brandeis did not have an answer for Case’s prolific shooting in the first half. The Spartans hit their first six shots and finished the first half with a 64.5% shooting percentage and an incredible 9-of-12 from behind the arc (75%). With just under three minutes to play in the first 20 minutes, the Spartans led by as many as 20 points. The Judges were able to gain some necessary momentum heading into the locker room on an 8-2 run, with senior Dylan Lien ’23 scoring six of the eight points to close within 51-37 at the half. 

Opening on a 9-4 run to cut the Spartan’s lead to 10, Brandeis had high energy heading into the remaining 20 minutes of game play. First-year power forward Quron Zene ’26 kept the Judges within 10 with 15 minutes to go, but CWRU continued to connect from the field, undertaking a 16-4 run over a four-minute stretch to take a 22-point lead; the Judges were unable to get within 17 points for the remainder of the game. 

Prolific scorer Toby Harris ’25 led all players with 19 points, 13 of which were scored in the second half; Harris also secured a team-high three rebounds. Senior shooter Lien added 13 points, while Zene and junior Sam Adusei ’24 each added nine; Zene dished out four assists for the Judges. The Spartans’ 15 3-pointers were three shy of a UAA single-game record.

After falling short to the CWRU Spartans on Friday night, the Judges prepared to defeat Carnegie Mellon in Red Auerbach Arena on Sunday afternoon. While the Judges led by 17 points with 15 minutes to play on a Ryan Power ’24 3-pointer that made it 45-28, the Tartans began their run soon after, cutting the Judges lead to 10 by scoring seven consecutive points in a timely fashion. Lien was able to pause the Tartans’ momentum with a shot from behind the arc, but CMU persisted. 

“Stop, score, stop” is a sequence of events proven to increase a team’s momentum by rewarding defensive efforts with scores. Altering the order slightly, CMU started with a score, cutting the Brandeis led to two on a pair of free throws with 1:37 remaining; the Tartans followed their score up with a stop, which ultimately resulted in a corner 3 to give the Spartans a one-point advantage, 65-64. While the Judges had two chances to re-secure the lead in the final minute, both looks by Lien and Power did not fall and the Tartans escaped with their first road win of the weekend. 

Power led the way with 13 points for the Judges, while Lien and Harris each had 12. Zene added 10 points, in addition to seven boards and five assists, tied with Griffin Wallbridge ’25; Zene and Wallbridge assist totals were career highs.

While the Judges fell to both opponents, Brandeis did have something to celebrate, as sophomore guard Toby Harris earned his third career UAA Player of the Week honors on Jan. 24, 2023. Harris averaged 22.5 points, seven rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in the Judges’ win over Rochester, as well as their two-point loss to Emory the week before. For the week, Harris shot an impressive 50% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. Toby Harris not only leads the UAA in scoring this season, averaging 20.2 points per game, but he also is ranked in the top eight with 6.6 rebounds per game. Unsurprisingly, Harris leads the league in 3-point field goals with 59 makes. 

The Judges take the road to begin the second half of UAA play, facing the CWRU Spartans on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Cleveland, Ohio, and the CMU Tartans on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 12 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 



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