Hot first half helps men win UAA opener at NYU, 76-71

Collin Sawyer '20 (Photo by
Collin Sawyer '20 (Photo by

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team built a lead as large as 18 points in the first half and the Judges hung to win their University Athletic Association opener, 76-71, against rivals NYU at the Hunter Sportsplex today. The Judges improve to 9-3 overall, 1-0 in the UAA, as they are off to their best 12-game start since the 2012-13 season. The Violets fall to 7-5, 0-1 UAA.

The Judges got off to their hot start thanks to long-distance shooting, connecting on 10 first-half 3-pointers. Senior Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London) and rookie Dylan Lien (Northborough, Mass./Worcester Academy) each hit three from beyond the arc as they combined for 26 of 46 Brandeis points.

The Judges' biggest lead was 44-25 with 4:04 to go after Sawyer hit his third trifecta of the half. NYU responded with 11 straight points, sparked by a four-point play by Miles Somerville, before a late Sawyer jumper made it 46-36 at the break. Somerville had nine points off the bench for the Violets.

Brandeis pressed its advantage back to 15 points on another long-distance shot, this time by sophomore Austin Clamage (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest Academy) that made it 59-44 with 13:06 left. NYU scored the next seven points to get the deficit below double digits again, and it was down to seven after a Somerville 3-pointer midway through the period that made it 63-57. NYU climbed within four twice after a Brandeis timeout, including at 65-61 on a Nick Macarchuk lay-up with just under nine minutes to go.

The visitors responded with five in a row of their own, as back-to-back lay-ups by sophomore center Nolan Hagerty (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) made it 70-61 with six minutes to go. NYU wasn't done, however, holding Brandeis scoreless for the next four minutes. Somerville capped an 8-0 run with a hoop with 1:57 remaining that cut the deficit to one point at 70-69. The Violets got a stop but could not convert, and Hagerty scored again to push the lead back to three points with 47 seconds to go.

NYU's Macarchuk responded with 33 seconds left, but out of a Brandeis timeout, Sawyer drew a foul and hit both free throws. On the next NYU possession, rookie Darret Justice (Haymarket, Va. / Highland School) got a steal, and Sawyer connected on the other end to account for the final score.

For the game, Sawyer led all players, finishing with 19 points. He hit 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-8 from downtown, and 6-of-7 from the line. Hagerty and Lien each added 12 points, with Hagerty tying for team-high honors with eight rebounds. Junior Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy) had a fine all-around performance, with seven points, eight rebounds and a game-high five assists. The Judges had 18 helpers on their 27 buckets, and won the turnover battled, forcing 12 while committing just seven to finish with an 18-7 advantage in points off those miscues. They finished with 12 3-pointers to seven for NYU.

The Violets put four players in double figures in scoring, with Ethan Feldman finished with 16 points, and Cade Hoppe scoring 10 of his 15 in the second half. Somerville had 14 and Bobby Hawkinson had 12 off the bench. Jimmy Martinelli tied with two Brandeis players with eight rebounds, helping the hosts win the battle of the boards, 36-26, including 12-6 on the offensive glass.

Brandeis will have its first home UAA game of the season next Friday evening against the University of Rochester at 8 p.m. NYU will host #6 Emory at the same time.