Last-second shot give men's basketball upset win over #3 Emory, 75-73

Eric D'Aguanno '20 (Photo by
Eric D'Aguanno '20 (Photo by

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team got a last-second offensive rebound and put-back by senior Eric D'Aguanno (Saunderstown, R.I./St. Andrews School) today as the Judges upset the #3-team in Division III from Emory University, 75-73, in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest in Red Auerbach Arena. The Judges improve to 11-3, 3-0 in the UAA, while the Eagles fall to 12-2, 2-1.

In a game that featured 10 ties and 11 lead changes, it was the last possession that made all the difference. Brandeis owned a 73-67 lead with just over 90 seconds to go after sophomore center Nolan Hagerty (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) hit the first of two free throws, but was denied the second on a lane violation. Emory was able to erase that deficit with a quick lay-up, a Brandeis turnover, and four free throws, the last two by Romin Williams with 22.8 seconds left on the clock to knot the game at 73-all.

The Judges, without a timeout, brought the ball up the floor in the hands of rookie Darret Justice (Haymarket, Va./Highland School). He dribbled until the clock ticked under 10 seconds to go, then passed it up to junior Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy) at the top of the lane. Jones dribbled to the hoop and challenged the Emory defense, but Jones's shot was blocked by Eagle guard Matthew Schner. The ball floated into the lane, and D'Aguanno caught the ball and shot in one motion, sending the ball through with eight-tenths of a second left on the clock. Emory called timeout, but their length-of-the-floor pass was errant, giving the Judges the upset.

Brandeis held Emory 17 points below their season scoring average. The Eagles led by as many as five points late in the first half on a Williams lay-up that made it 23-18, but the Judges answered with an 8-2 run to take the lead back and never let the Eagles establish a lead larger than two possessions. Brandeis owned a slim 34-32 advantage at halftime thanks to nine points from Hagerty and eight from D'Aguanno.

Brandeis came roaring out of the locker room, outscoring the Eagles 20-13 over the first eight minutes to take their largest lead, 54-45, on a Hagerty put-back with 12:06 to go. Not be outdone, Emory went on a  9-1 run of their own, getting within 55-54 on Lawrence Rowley's offensive rebound at the 9:31 mark. The game featured three ties and four lead changes over the next seven minutes before Brandeis scored six in a row to turn a 67-all tie into a 73-67 lead, setting up the thrilling finish.

For the game, the Judges were led by Hagerty, who scored a career-high 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, one shy of a career-best. Hagerty shot 9-of-15 from the field and hit three free throws. He also had three assists and two blocked shots. Jones added 19 points on 6-of-15 overall, 1-of-2 from downtown and 6-of-7 from the line. Jones scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half. D'Aguanno had 12 points off the bench, anchoring the Judge reserves that outscored their Emory counterparts, 27-6. Rookie Matan Zucker (Manalapan, N.J. / Lawrenceville Prep) came off the bench to lead the Judges

Emory was paced by 19 points and nine rebounds each from Schner and Rowley.  Williams added 16 points and four assists. The Eagles won the turnover battle, committing just six while forcing 16, and turning those into a 15-4 edge in points off those miscues.

Brandeis's win snaps a four-game losing streak to Emory, who had won 10 of the previous 12 meetings. The Judges' 3-0 start in the UAA is their best since winning their first five of the 2013 season.

The Judges will travel on their annual Midwest trip next weekend, taking on Washington University next Friday evening at 9 p.m. Eastern (8 Central). The Bears are the only other 3-0 team in the UAA. Emory will host Carnegie Mellon at 8 p.m. next Friday night.