MEN'S BASKETBALL: Team still looking to hit its stride
The Brandeis men’s basketball team has not started the season the way it intended. While the team has kept most of its games close, it has not had much luck finding the win column, starting off 1-5, including three straight losses. The season is still young, so the team still has time to put the pieces together, but the schedule is not going to get any easier as the team enters conference play in the coming months.
Judges 74, Tufts 76
Mere weeks after ending the Jumbos’ men’s soccer season, the Judges lost a heartbreaker to Tufts University on the road court on Sunday. The Jumbos held onto a solid lead for most of the first half, but then the Judges made their comeback. Down 12 with less than eight minutes to play in the half, the Judges used some key Tufts misses to propel their run and entered the break ahead 41-37. The second half was fast paced and exciting. Both teams traded leads for the majority of the half and the Judges found themselves leading 74-73 with 2.7 seconds left. But the Jumbos had a pinpoint cross-court pass before quickly calling timeout. Senior guard Vincent Pace was given the inbounds pass and nailed his shot to give Tufts the win at the buzzer.
Judges 81, Babson 89
The team played a hard fought game against defending National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III champion Babson College. Four different Judges had double-digit point totals, but that was not enough to win Saturday’s contest. This was a game of huge runs and momentum changes. Babson used an 18-0 run to go up 24-5 early on in the contest, but the Judges persevered, eventually closing out the first half with a 19-5 run of their own to bring the game within 10. The Beavers increased that lead to 20 points early in the second half and led 71-51 with 10:40 left in regulation. A 28-15 run by Brandeis narrowed their deficit to five, but it was too little, too late and the Judges simply ran out of time.
Judges 70, UMass-Dartmouth 76
The Judges blew a 17-point lead last Tuesday in a rough loss to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. The team went up early 19-7 as the defense stifled UMass, holding them to 3-14 shooting. In the remaining 10 minutes of the half, however, the game was more even and Brandeis was ahead at the half 40-27. The Corsairs made some adjustments at the break and scored the first eight points of the second half as part of a 14-4 run, cutting the Judges lead to just three. After a Brandeis run, UMass slowly chipped away at the Judges remaining lead and eventually went ahead 60-59 with 3:49 to go. A late three and a few key free throws gave UMass the win.
Looking ahead, the Judges have two more games before winter break and the team wants to get some momentum going. On Thursday, the team will welcome Newbury College to Waltham and on Saturday, the Judges will travel to Wesleyan University to take on the Cardinals. The Judges will return to action on the final day of 2017 as they take on Bates College before hosting Fitchburg State University in the penultimate game of regional play. The team then has two games each against fellow University Athletic Association teams, which will close out the season and determine its placement in the UAA standings.
If the Judges manage to turn it around, they could make the NCAA DIII tournament. The team has the talent and depth to go far this postseason, but it will need to come together after break to be successful.
While it may not be March Madness, that is still the number one goal on the minds of the team as they progress through a long season. The Judges will look to keep their championship hopes alive when they come back in the winter. It will be exciting to see who will step up.