ST. LOUIS, Mo. – In a battle of top-25 squads at the top of the University Athletic Association standings, the #24-ranked Brandeis University men's basketball team couldn't quite climb out of a couple of big holes as the Judges fell to #13 Washington University, 70-60, on the road. With the loss, the Judges see a six-game winning streak snapped as they fall to 11-4 overall, 3-1 in the UAA. The Bears improve to 13-2, 4-0, and take sole possession of first place in the league.
The Judges never led in this one, as WashU scored the first six points of the game. Brandeis struggled offensively in the early going, especially after junior forward Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy) picked up two early fouls. The Bears led by as many as 16 points in the first half, taking a 30-14 lead on a Kevin Davet lay-up with 7:25 to go. Brandeis rallied, allowing the Bears just one field goal the rest of the half. The Judges scored 13 unanswered points and closed to within three points on a jumper by sophomore Sam Nassar (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) that made it 30-27 with 2:19 to go. The Judges had a chance to get closer after the Bears hit just 1-of-2 from the line on their next possession, but were unable to convert, and the hosts hit two from the charity stripe to push their lead back to six. Judge senior Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London) hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down and 35 seconds to go to make it 33-30, but the Bears' Jack Nolan answered with a long trifecta of his own just before the half to make it a six-point game, 36-30, headed into the locker room.
After WashU scored the first basket of the second half, Jones tallied the next five, hitting a trifecta 2:35 in to make it a one-possession game once again at 38-35. Brandeis had two opportunities to get closer after a pair of stops, but the Judges committed costly turnovers. The Bears responded with a 12-4 run over a span of 3:30, pushing the lead back to 11 and 50-39 on a Kameron Mack 3-pointer, and the Judges never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
Sawyer led Brandeis with 20 points, 14 coming in the first half. It was his fifth 20-point game of the season. He his 6-of-12 from the field, 2-of-5 from downtown and 6-of-6 from the line. He also had a team- and career-high four assists. Sophomore Nolan Hagerty (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) had 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Jones and rookie Dylan Lien (Northborough, Mass./Worcester Academy) each chipped in nine points, with all of Jones's points coming in the second half. The rest of the Brandeis lineup had just 12 points.
WashU had four players score in double figures, paced by 16 from Jack Nolan and 15 each by DeVaughn Rucker and Mack. Payden Webb added 13 points. Jonathan Arenas just missed a double-double for the Bears despite scoring just one point, as he finished with a game-high 15 rebounds and eight assists. He also had four steals in the contest. WashU had nine 3-pointers to just five for the Judges, while the Bears also outscored Brandeis, 13-9, from the free-throw line. Though turnovers were close, 14 for Brandeis and 11 for WashU, the Bears turned theirs into a 20-11 margin in points off those turnovers.
The Judges will return to action on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m (Eastern/12 Central) against the University of Chicago.