Judges struggling as conference play begins
Midway through its season, the men’s basketball team lost four of its last five games. The squad has its work cut out for the remainder of the season, but there is still time for them to turn things around and end this year on a strong note, with decent positioning for the playoffs. There is still a lot of season left to play.
Judges 67, Chicago 77
On Sunday, the Judges took a trip to the University of Chicago and gave the Maroons their sixth win of the season. The squad started strong out of the gate, even managing to lead by seven at one point in the first half. However, seven minutes into the game, the Maroons tied the game at 24 apiece. Continuing their run, the Maroons carried themselves to a 39-34 lead at halftime. Despite a well-balanced offense by the Judges in the second half, they were unable to contain the Maroons’ explosive offense and strong rebounding efforts. Brandeis finished the game with 29 boards next to an impressive 45 by Chicago. However, despite the loss, all five of Brandeis’ starters, led by guard Lawrence Sabir ’21 with 13 points, were still able to score double-digits figures.
Judges 56, WashU 84
Brandeis took another tough loss against the Washington University in St. Louis Bears on Friday, where they were blown out by the No. 6 ranked host. The Judges were again able to start the game strong in the opening minutes, taking a very early 7-4 lead, which included a three pointer by guard Collin Sawyer ’20, but the Bears responded with a strong sense of urgency, going on a monstrous 19-0 run. At halftime, Brandeis was down by twenty, 43-23. The second half started in the Judges’ favor, as they went on an early 14-3 run. However, the Bears responded with a 13-3 run of their own, silencing what may have been any hope of a comeback. The Judges loss came down to two key performance categories. First, they were unable to slow down the Bears’ impressive 56.4 field goal percentage, and they struggled on the boards, losing 26-48.
Judges 82, Amherst 102
Last Monday, the Judges hosted and lost to the Amherst College Mammoths. In seemingly recurring fashion, they managed to take an early lead, thanks to baskets scored by guard Latye Workman ’18. However, midway through the first half, Amherst’s freshman guard Garrett Day knocked down a three to give Amherst what would be their first and only lead of the game. Amherst went on a quick 15-2 run, giving them a solid cushion going into halftime. Brandeis trailed 55-40 entering the second half, and it was unable to make a comeback for the rest of the game. Again, Brandeis lost the rebounding battle 40-27, and Amherst dominated in the paint, scoring 36 compared to Brandeis’ 22 points around the basket.
Judges 82, NYU 90
In their closest loss of January, and their first University Athletic Association conference game of the season, the Judges were unable to fend off New York University on the road. In a very close match, that contained four lead changes, neither team was able to get ahead by a large margin. Again Brandeis had five players in double-digits, led by forward Chandler Jones ’21 and Sawyer, who both had 14 points. Additionally, the Judges had a season high of 12 threes made as a group. Despite a tough loss, NYU is now 8-5. By putting up a strong fight against a talented squad, Brandeis was able to show their capacity to compete.
Without a doubt, January has been a difficult month for the men’s basketball team, but there seems to be consistent patterns in the team’s play that ultimately prevent it from coming out on top. If the group can improve on the boards and its inside scoring, it will ultimately become a much larger threat to any team it may face and could try to turn their season around.
On Friday, Brandeis will host the University of Rochester at 8 p.m. for its first conference home game of the season.