DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team closed the first half on an 11-2 run to turn a five-point deficit into a four-point lead at the break and the Judges bounced back from an early charge in the second half as they picked up a non-conference road victory over the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs, 78-65, tonight. With the win, the Judges improve to 4-2 on the season, while UMD falls to 5-2.
The hosts led by as many as eight points early in the first half and were still ahead, 31-26, on a put-back lay-up by Marquis Jones with 3:41 remaining. Brandeis would hold the Corsairs to just one field goal the rest of the stanza. Junior guard Lawrence Sabir (Providence, R.I./LaSalle Academy) started the key run with a 3-pointer that cut the Judges' deficit to two points, while classmate Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy) scored the team's final eight points of the half. Jones had a steal that led to an offensive rebound for a bucket with 51 seconds remaining to give the Judges their first lead of the game at 35-33. He then hit two free throws with one second left to make it a 37-33 edge for the Judges at halftime. Jones and senior Eric D'Aguanno (Saunderstown, R.I./St. Andrews School) had eight points each, while senior Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London) had nine to lead the Judges. Marcus Azor paced UMass Dartmouth with a game-high 11 first-half points.
UMD came out of the second half on fire, scoring 10 of the first 12 points to reclaim a four-point lead on Adam Seablom's jumper with 16:43 to go that made the score 43-39. The hosts had two more chances to extend their lead, but were unable to convert, and Brandeis rookie Dylan Lien (Northborough, Mass./Worcester Academy) and D'Aguanno scored buckets to tie the game at 43-all with 14:06 to go. The contest was still tied at 48 midway through the stanza when Brandeis went on a 6-1 run and never trailed again. A lay-up by rookie Darret Justice (Haymarket, Va./Highland School) put the Judges ahead by six, 55-49, with 7:18 on the clock. UMass Dartmouth would hang around, remaining within four points on a Seablom jumper with 3:14 on the clock that made it 61-57.
On the next possession, D'Aguanno hit a dagger 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to seven points, 64-57. The Corsairs committed turnovers on their next two possessions, and the Judges made them pay with two Jones free throws and a Sawyer trifecta that extended the lead to 12 points, 69-57, with 1:23 left and iced the contest as the Judges hit just enough foul shots to keep the home team at bay.
Sawyer scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, marking the fifth time in six games he has led the Judges in scoring. He hit 8-of-11 from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and 3-of-5 from the line. Jones finished with 15 points, thanks to 4-of-9 shooting overall and 7-of-8 from the line. He also grabbed six rebounds. D'Aguanno chipped in 13 points, doubling the output of the entire UMass Dartmouth bench. Sophomore Nolan Hagerty (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) tied for game-high honors with nine rebounds, while Sabir led the team with three assists.
For UMass Dartmouth, Azor led the way with 20 points, while Seablom had 18 and Sean Leahy had 11. Harry Alexander tied with Hagerty for game-high rebounding honors with nine, including five on the offensive glass, and Azor led the Corsairs with a game-high four assists.
Brandeis shot 50.9% from the field (28-55), their third time this season hitting more than half of their shots. After shooting just 45.2% in the first half (14-31), the Judges improved to 58.3% (14-24) in the second. UMass Dartmouth won the battle of the boards, 37-43, and though turnovers were nearly even (13 for UMD, 12 for Brandeis), the Judges outscored UMD, 23-10, in points off those miscues.
Brandeis is back in action in one week on Tuesday, December 3, when they travel down Route 30 to Lasell University for a 7 p.m. tip. UMass Dartmouth hosts Bridgewater State Monday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m.