NEWTON, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team trailed by seven points with less than two minutes to go, but the Judges closed regulation on an 8-1 run and outscored host Lasell, 11-8, in overtime to escape with an 84-81 road victory. The Judges improve to 5-2 on the season, while the Lasers narrowly missed out on their first win, falling to 0-7.
Brandeis led, 12-7, after five minutes when junior guard Lawrence Sabir (Providence, R.I./LaSalle Academy) hit a lay-up. Lasell responded with the game's 13 points, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Keith Pothier. Dylan Murray dialed long distance for the Lasers to put them ahead, 20-12, with 11:46 left in the half. The hosts would lead by as many as nine points in the stanza, but the Judges stayed within striking distance. Brandeis got within a point on a Dylan Lien (Northboro, Mass./Worcester Academy) 3-pointer and tied it at 35-all with 1:29 left on a Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London) trifecta. The teams each scored once more in the half, with a Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy) put-back evening the score at 37-37 at the break.
The Judges couldn't get over the hump in the second half, with Lasell's Jonathan Frieberg hitting a 3-pointer to open the stanza. The Lasers would reestablish an eight-point bulge on a Kevin Nunez jump shot at the 13-minute mark. Jones answered with the game's next two buckets, followed by a Sabir hoop that got Brandeis within 52-50 just 1:44 later. Lasell seemed to have an answer for every Brandeis run after that, eventually matching their nine-point lead on a Nunez lay-up with just under five minutes remaining.
Brandeis responded again, getting trifectas from senior Eric D'Aguanno (Saunderstown, R.I./St. Andrews School) and Jones to claw to within five, 68-63, with 3:40 left. The Lasers still were ahead by seven on another Nunez bucket with just 1:50 to go in regulation. He was fouled on the play, but missed the bonus. Lien answered with a quick bucket to get the deficit back to five. After both teams missed o their next possessions, Pothier hit one-of-two with 45 seconds remaining to make it a six-point game, 73-67. Lien answered again from the left elbow with just four seconds elapsed, cutting the Brandeis deficit in half. After both teams called timeout, Sabir was able to tie up a loose ball with the possession arrow favoring the Judges. With 19 seconds to go, Sawyer drove to the basket, hit a lay-up and drew a foul, tying the game at 73-73 with his free throw. Lasell missed on their ensuing possession, and Jones grabbed the rebound. Unfortunately for the Judges, he turned the ball over, but Lasell's desperation heave just missed, forcing overtime.
In overtime, Brandeis sophomore Nolan Hagerty (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) hit a lay-up to give the Judges their first lead since early in the first half. Nunez answered with a big stretch, scoring a lay-up, drawing an offensive foul, and scoring again to give Lasell a 77-75 lead. Sawyer countered with a trifecta with 3:02 on the clock, but Lasell's Kevin Vanderhorst returned the favor, putting the Lasers back on top, 80-78, with 2:35 left.
Jones hit a pair of foul shots to square the game at 80 with 2:11 to go. Each team had a chance to go ahead with the shot clock winding down on their next possession. Brandeis got two offensive rebounds on theirs, but ended up getting pocket picked by Stefan Masciarelli with 1:06 to go. Nunez got a good look at the basket on the other end, but it just bounced off into the hands of Hagerty. On the offensive end, Hagerty was able to hit his short jumper with 29 seconds to go. Lasell called timeout with 19 seconds on the clock, and Masciarelli got to the line with 11.8 seconds remaining, but he hit just one of two foul shots. Sawyer got the rebound on the second and was fouled immediately. He hit both free throws calmly icing the game with 11.1 left, as Nunez's last-ditch 3-pointer was off the mark.
Brandeis put four players in double digits in scoring. Jones led all players with 22 points, just shy of his season-best. He hit 9-of-15 from the floor, 2-of-6 from 3-point range and 2-of-5 from the line. Eleven of his 22 points came in the second half. JOnes also had seven rebounds and three steals. Sawyer and D'Aguanno tied for second on the team with 17 points apiece. D'Aguanno hit 4-of-6 from 3-point range, giving him 209 for his career, tied for second all-time with Steve Harrington '92. Hagerty posted three career-highs, registered his first career double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds (four offensive). He also had a career-best with six assists, trailing Sabir's seven for team-high. He also played a team-high 40 minutes. The Judges owned a 42-37 edge in rebounding, including 7-1 in overtime.
Lasell put all five starters in double digits, led by Nunez with 21, 15 coming in the second half and overtime. Masciarelli finished with 18 points, while Poitier had 12. Vanderhorst and Friberg each scored 10 points, with the latter recording a double-double with 12 assists and leading the Lasers with seven rebounds.
Brandeis returns to action this weekend when they take on Tufts as part of the New England Big Four Challenge Saturday at Salem State for a noon tipoff. Lasell hosts Wheaton College on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.