NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass.- Behind a career-high 32 points from senior guard Gabriel Moton (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg), the Brandeis University men's basketball team rallied from a large first half deficit to hold on for a 96-90 win at the UMass-Dartmouth Corsairs. The Judges improve to 2-0 while the Corsairs fall to 2-1.
In the first half, UMass was led by an outburst of scoring from junior guard Jake Laga (Northampton, Mass./Northampton) who put up 20 points in the period. Laga netted 12 consecutive points during an 18-4 stretch that helped the Corsairs open up a 30-16 lead with 7:22 to go in the period. Still, Moton was not to be outdone as he brought the Judges back and poured in 21 points of his own in the first 20 minutes. Moton scored 20 of his 21 first half points after that 7:22 mark, including 15 consecutive points for Brandeis, to lead the Judges on a 29-9 run that put the Judges up 45-39 headed into the break.
In the second half, it was Brandeis who tried to pull away, building their largest lead of the contest after a lay-up by senior center Youri Dascy (Fall River, Mass./St. Andrew's School (R.I.)) made it 64-49 with 13:55 on the clock. Still, UMass would not go down easily and began chipping into the lead. The Corsairs drew as close as four points twice. With 5:02 to play, sophomore guard Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass./Fitchburg) drained a shot from beyond the arc to make it 74-70. The Judges reeled off five quick points to relieve some of the pressure. Then, at the 1:12 mark, Laga sunk a jumper that brought UMass within 87-83. Clutch trips to the charity stripe by Moton, and senior captains Ben Bartoldus (Hillsborough, N.H./Proctor Acad. (N.H.)) and Derek Retos (No. Attleboro, Mass./Brimmer and May School) helped seal the 96-90 victory for Brandies.
The Judges were led by Moton's career-high 32 points that came on 10-for-14 shooting from the field and an 11-for-14 mark at the free throw line while pulling down five rebounds and recording a team-high four assists. Three other starters joined Moton in double-digits as Bartoldus netted 17 while senior forward Alex Stoyle (Goffstown, N.H./Tilton School) and rookie guard Robinson Vilmont (Cambridge, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson Acad.) added 13 apiece. Vilmont also had a team-high eight caroms.
The Corsairs were led by Laga who poured in a game-high 33 points on 11-for-15 shooting including 6-for-7 from beyond the arc and a perfect 5-for-5 from the line. He was joined in double-digits by Akanni who added 16 points on an efficient 7-for-10 night from the floor. Sophomore forward Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical) pulled down a squad-leading seven rebounds while Laga also had a game-high five helpers.
Brandeis continues their season back at Red Auerbach Arena on Thursday November 21st with a 7:00 p.m. tip-off against Framingham State. UMass heads out to Salem State on Saturday November 23rd with a 2:00 p.m. start.