Brandeis wins the Big 4 Challenge over weekend
The Brandeis men's basketball team beat Babson College and Tufts University on Friday and Saturday, securing the Big 4 championship.
The Brandeis men’s basketball team overcame Babson College and Tufts University, the latter won after a gruelling five overtime game, to win the Big Four Challenge. The Friday, Dec. 3 game against Babson saw the Judges start Dylan Lien ’23, Collin Sawyer M.A. ’22, Sam Nassar ’22, Nolan Hagerty ’22 and Toby Harris ’25. The Judges and the Babson Beavers remained relatively even throughout the first half, as neither team were able to cement themselves on offence and build up a rhythm. On some possessions, the Judges were able to pass the ball effectively to find open shooters at the 3-point line or cut towards the basket and draw a foul. Despite being a first-year, Harris was given the starting job and a significant amount of shots. Although he is a forward, he is able to stretch the floor and take pressure in the paint away from cutters. Harris almost always got a touch in every offensive set and was given the green light to shoot seven 3-pointers in both the Babson and Tufts games.
Babson employed a trap defense throughout the second half of the game, where two defenders crowd the ball handler to try and force a turnover. Brandeis’ main ball handler, Nassar, was able to overcome the trap though, as he only had one turnover. Going into the second, the Judges led by five, but after a series of strong defence, initiated by a full court press from Darret Justice’ 23, they were able to bring the lead up to 10. From then on, Brandeis was able to maintain a comfortable lead with the help of some 3-pointers from Sawyer and Lien. Despite being up over eight points with minutes remaining, Babson decided to foul the Judges, sending them to the line to regain possession and hopefully get a basket that could bring them back into the game. Not only did the Judges do a good job of making their shots at the line, Babson was rarely able to make shots on their possessions, which allowed the Judges to maintain their lead. Much to the chagrin of the audience, Babson kept on fouling, extending one minute of game time into over 15 minutes of fouling and free throws. However, in the end, the Judges were able to keep their lead and prevent any minuscule chance that Babson had of a comeback from ever materializing.
The next day, the Judges faced off against the Tufts University Jumbos. Despite getting off to a strong start in the first half, the Jumbos were able to bring it back level at the end of the second half. The Judges and the Jumbos went into overtime, where Chandler Jones’ led the team with three points scored in the five minute overtime. He continued to lead the Judges in scoring until the fourth overtime when Harris scored eight to finally ice the game.
Other than Hagerty and Harris, the starting lineup all played above 48 minutes in what was a gruelling game to win the Big 4 Challenge.