Men’s basketball goes 6-0 in 2020
Judges 65, Bowdoin 62
On Jan. 2, Brandeis defeated the Bowdoin College Polar Bears in an encounter decided by three points. Four different Judges scored double digits, led by 16 from Chandler Jones ’21. Nolan Hagerty ’22 added 10 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Collin Sawyer ’20 and Eric D’Aguanno ’20 scored 11 each. Lawrence Sabir ’21 also put on a good performance, with six points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
After allowing the first four points, the visitors went on a 15–0 run. The Judges stretched the lead to 26–10 with 8:44 left in the first half. An 11–3 run for Bowdoin made it 29–21 with five minutes remaining before Brandeis took a 42–29 advantage going into halftime.
The Judges matched their largest lead of the game at 46–30 just 80 seconds into the second period before the Polar Bears cut it to 49–39 at the 14:18 mark. Neither team scored for a full three minutes before Dylan Lien ‘23 made a pair of free throws to put the Judges up by 12. After a free throw by Matan Zucker ’23, Bowdoin scored 11 straight points to bring the score within two before Sawyer made the Judges’ first field goal in nine minutes and 48 seconds to make it 54–50. Brandeis led 63–54 with two and a half minutes to go before eight straight points by Bowdoin brought the score within a point with 31 seconds remaining. A steal by Sabir and the ensuing free throw with a second on the clock sealed the 65–62 victory.
Judges 71, Bates 66
On Jan. 7, Sawyer and D’Aguanno led the way against the Bates College Bobcats, scoring 20 and 14 points respectively. Hagerty led the team with nine rebounds while Sabir filled up the stat sheet with eight points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Sawyer was remarkably efficient from range, knocking down six of the nine triples he attempted, helping the Judges go 13–28 from behind the arc as a team.
Brandeis had to come from behind as a 15–14 lead turned into a 39–22 deficit near the end of the first half. The Judges finished with their best passage of the half, ending it on a 9–2 run which was highlighted by a Sabir block and coast-to-coast layup.
The hosts picked up where they left off after the break, cutting the deficit to one at 43–42 at the end of a 20–4 run spanning both halves. Sawyer tied the game at 45 and the Judges took their first lead since 12:52 of the first half when Hagerty converted two free throws to make it 55–54. It was extremely tight down the stretch with the teams locked within two points of each other from 8:14 until there was just 1:33 left in the game. Lien extended the Judges lead to 66–62 with a three pointer. Brandeis saw out the final 90 seconds with a final tally of 71–66, ending their non-conference schedule with an impressive 8–3 record.
Judges 76, NYU 71
Brandeis won their conference opener over the New York University Violets on Jan. 11 at Hunter College in Manhattan. Sawyer continued his red-hot form with a game high 19 points while Hagerty and Lien each had 12. Hagerty and Jones each had eight rebounds while Jones dished out five assists. Sam Nassar ’22 started his first game of the season and Darret Justice ’23 played 17 minutes off the bench. The Judges hit 12 of their 35 three point attempts and were out-rebounded 36–26 in the victory.
The Judges jumped out to a 21–10 lead at the 11-minute mark of the first half and took a 46–36 lead into halftime, having led by as much as 19.
Three-pointers by Justice and Austin Clamage ’21 put the Judges ahead 59–44 seven minutes into the second frame, but NYU followed with a 10–3 run to make it a seven point game. The Violets pulled within four on two occasions midway through the second half before cutting the lead to 70–69 with just under two minutes left. The teams traded layups in the final minute before free throws by Sawyer sealed the game for the Judges at 76–71.
Judges 76, Rochester 54
The Judges put together an incredible first half in front of a strong crowd at Auerbach Arena for a comfortable blowout win against the University of Rochester Yellowjackets. Sawyer scored 24 while Hagerty added 18, but the story of the game was the Judges’ three point shooting in the first half. They finished 8–12 from beyond after 20 minutes, having made each of their first five attempts. There was not much the visitors could do as they ran into a Judges’ team that put in their best home performance of the season so far.
Lien opened the scoring with a three pointer 23 seconds in to give the Judges the lead for good. Sawyer, the University Athletic Conference’s second most efficient three point shooter made it 6–2 after 1:50. The tone for the night was permanently set when 6’10” center Mike Gao ’23 knocked down a three from the wing with the shot clock running out at the 16 minute mark. The Judges took care of business in the second half, leading by as much as 28 en route to a final score of 76–54. The atmosphere inside Auerbach arena was loud and matched the product on the court for the opening home game of the semester.
The Judges matched their offensive performance with stout defense all half and led 43–20 against a team which came into the game sporting the same 9–3 record.
Judges 75, Emory 73
The team made it six straight wins with a thrilling upset at home over the Emory University Eagles. Nolan Hagerty paced the Judges with 21 points while also adding 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Chandler Jones scored 19, followed by Eric D’Aguanno with 12. Matan Zucker was impressive off the bench, posting a team-high four assists in only 15 minutes. The Judges’ offense struggled at times, committing 16 turnovers, 12 in the first half and shooting 4–15 as a team from beyond the arc. They held an Emory side which had averaged nearly 90 points per game to 28-70 from the floor, including 3–17 from deep.
The home team started hot, taking a 9–2 lead after 4:08, but Emory responded with a 12–1 scoring run to take a four point lead. It was back and forth the rest of the first half, with Brandeis taking a 34–32 lead into the break. However, the Eagles could have had the lead had they not gone 1-6 from the free throw line in the first half.
A layup by Hagerty put the Judges in front 41–34 early in the second half, and then another layup from the sophomore gave them a nine point lead at the 12 minute mark. The visitors, who entered the game 12–1 with their only loss coming by a point on a buzzer beater, fought back to lead 62–60 with six minutes left. Jones responded with one of the Judges’ four three pointers to regain the lead, but Emory tied the game again at 67 shortly after. Brandeis scored the game’s next six, leading 73–67 with 1:31 on the clock. A lane violation nullified a Hagerty free throw which would have brought the lead to seven, and the mistake proved significant. Emory took advantage of a five second violation and a pair of fouls to tie the game at 0:22. Jones drove to the basket in the waning seconds, but his attempt was blocked, only for D’Aguanno to find the loose ball and float it in for the game winner with eight tenths remaining.
The Judges are now 11–3 (3–0) and travel to the Midwest next weekend.