AMHERST, Mass. -- Five players scored in double figures tonight as the Brandeis University men's basketball team pulled a huge upset, defeating Amherst College, the No. 2 ranked team in Division III, 78-58, on the Lord Jeffs' home court. The Judges close out the first semester with a 3-5 record, while the Lord Jeffs suffer their first loss to fall to 5-1.
Brandeis was led by 17 points each from sophomore centerJohn Powell (Ashland, Mass./Brimmer and May School) hit 7-of-14 from the field and 3-of-5 from the line. Classmate and forward Tim Reale (Mason, Ohio/St. Andrews, R.I., School) finished with 16 as he hit 5-of-8 with a 3-pointer and was 5-of-7 from the line. The duo scored 21 of their 33 points in the second half.
Rookie forward Jordan Cooper (Weston, Fla./Sagemont School) finished with 15 points, 12 coming in the first half, while classmate Carlin Haymon (Boston, Mass./Rivers School) had 12 points in just 15 minutes off the bench, including three huge 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Robinson Vilmont (Cambridge, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson Acad.) added 11 points, nine coming in the second half.
Graduate student Connor Arnold (Andover, Mass./Deerfield Acad.) had a game-high eight rebounds, as the Judges dominated the glass, 33-23. Junior guard Colby Smith (No. Andover, Mass./No. Andover) led Brandeis and tied for game-high honors with four assists.
Amherst junior guard Connor Green posted a game-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting with three assists, one block and one steal. Sophomore guard Jacob Nabatoff added 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting with a team-high six rebounds, while rookie Jayde Dawson scored 10 points. Rookie Johnny McCarthy dished out a team-high four assists to match Smith and added nine points.
The game featured nine ties but only two lead changes. After Brandeis scored the first hoop of the game, the Lord Jeffs scored seven of the next eight points. Brandeis kept the game within two possessions for the first 10 minutes of the contest, but Amherst pushed to their biggest lead when McCarthy capped a 9-2 run with a fast-break lay-up at the 9:14 mark that put the hosts up, 29-22.
The Judges responded by holding Amherst scoreless for the next 2:40 as they scored nine in a row on three-straight 3-pointers by Haymon. The last trifecta gave Brandeis a 31-29 lead at 6:34, their first since 2-0. The Judges would never trail again. The game would be tied at 31 and at 33, but Brandeis closed the first half on a 7-1 run over the final 1:49, thanks to two free throws each from Reale and Smith and a long-distance bomb from rookie Nate Meehan (Lowell, Mass./Phillips Andover), giving the visitors a 40-36 lead at the break.
Amherst would open the second half on a 6-1 string, getting within 41-40 on a David George foul shot at the 17:29 mark. After a pair of empty trips on both sides, Reale hit a lay-up at 15:57 and Haymon stole the ensuing in-bounds pass and layed it back in to push the lead back to five, 45-40. Dawson answered with a 3-pointer for the Lord Jeffs, but a 15-2 run by the Judges over the next five minutes pushed the lead to 15. Reale had eight points in the run that gave Brandeis a 60-45 lead with 9:56 to go.
Brandeis, which shot 54 percent for the game (26-42) and 59 percent in the second half (13-22), saw its lead grow as large as 24 point before the final 20-point margin of victory. The win was Brandeis's first at Amherst since 2009, while the 20-point win was the second-largest by the Judges over the Lord Jeffs, trailing only a 24-point win in 1975.
Brandeis is off until 2015, when they will take on Roger Williams on Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. in Bristol, R.I.