Jones helps #25 men win tale of two halves at CMU, 77-70

Chandler Jones '21 (photo by
Chandler Jones '21 (photo by

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The 25th-ranked Brandeis University men's basketball team rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit thanks to a double-double performance from junior Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy) as the Judges defeated the host Carnegie Mellon University Tartans, 77-70, in University Athletic Association action today. With the win, the Judges improve to 15-5 overall, 7-2 in the UAA, moving back into a three-way tie for first place in the conference with Emory and Washington University. CMU falls to 9-11, 1-7 UAA.

The Judges struggled from the field in the first half, shooting just 37.5% from the field (12-32) and 13.3% from 3-point range (2-15) as they fell behind 36-29. CMU led by as many as eight points with just over five minutes to go in the first half. Brandeis closed within three points with under a minute to go, but the hosts scored the last four points of the stanza to take their seven-point edge into the locker room.

Brandeis turned around their shooting woes quickly in the second half, hitting their first two 3-pointers. They started the second period on a 12-2 run, taking a 41-38 lead on a Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London) jumper at the 17:41 mark and the Judges never trailed again. Brandeis would go on to improve their performance from the field, hitting 51.6% overall (16-31) and 50% from beyond the arc (5-10).

For the game, Jones and Sawyer each scored a team-high 17 points. Jones also had 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. He also led the Judges with three assists and two blocked shots. Jones nearly had a double-double in the second half alone, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine boards. Sawyer scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half when he hit 4-of-8 overall, 2-of-2 from deep and 2-of-2 from the line. The Judges also got a career-high 10 points from rookie Matan Zucker (Manalapan, N.J./Lawrenceville Prep) off the bench, nearly outscoring the CMU reserves on his own, as Brandeis's bench outscored the Tartans', 28-11. Zucker also grabbed seven rebounds, as did sophomore Nolan Hagerty (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) and rookie Darret Justice (Haymarket, Va./Highland School), helping the visitors to a 48-29 rebounding advantage, including 15-5 on the offensive glass.

CMU had four starters score in double digits, led by Zach Howarth's game-high 18 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Trent Suddeth had 16 points, but 14 of them came in the first half. Colin McNeil added 12 points and Daniel Weiss had 10. Suddeth and Weiss led the Tartans with six rebounds each, while McNeil had eight assists and two steals. CMU won the turnover battle, 13-8,  and 17-10 edge in points off those miscues.

With their win, the Judges clinched at least a .500 record in the UAA for the second season in a row. Their season sweep of CMU is the first since 2012-13, also the last time the Judges won 15 games in the regular season. They posted an 18-11 record last year but won four in the postseason ECAC tournament.

Brandeis will continue their four-game road trip on Friday evening at the University of Rochester, with a showdown with UAA co-leader #6-ranked Emory looming next Sunday in Atlanta.