Men can't hold off #13 WashU, 77-70

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

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team held a 38-34 lead at halftime, but 13th-ranked Washington University went on a 17-3 run midway through the second half as the visiting Bears defeated the Judges, 77-70, in a University Athletic Association contest tonight in Red Auerbach Arena. With the loss, the Judges fall to 15-8 overall, 7-5 in the UAA. WashU improves to 19-4, 10-2, and stays in a tie atop the UAA with two games to go.

The first half between the two teams was tight, featuring six ties and four lead changes, with neither team leading by more than five points. Brandeis trailed, 30-28, after WashU's Payden Webb hit a 3-pointer with three minutes to go in the stanza, but the Judges closed on a 10-4, highlighted by a deep Eric D'Aguanno (Saunderstown, R.I./St. Andrews School) 3-pointer and a steal and dunk by junior Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy). D'Aguanno added another trifecta to the late run to finish the half with six points, while Jones had eight.

WashU came out strong, feeding the ball to senior DeVaughn Rucker, who scored the team's first seven points. Brandeis was able to keep ahead of the Bears until another Webb trifecta gave the visitors a 49-48 lead with 12:50 on the clock. Junior Jack Nolan hit a traditional three-point play to extend WashU's lead to four points. Brandeis answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by sophomore Austin Clamage (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest Academy)  and D'Aguanno, the last of which made the score 54-52 in favor of the Judges with 10:48 to go. WashU went on the key run of the game at that point, scoring 17 of the game's next 20 points. Nolan had seven points in the run, including a four-point play, while Rucker scored five. Nolan's second 3-ball of the run made it 69-57 with 4:29 to go.

The Bears would hang on to their lead, but Brandeis had a chance to get close in the final minutes. Down 11, the Judges drew a charge on Rucker, and senior Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London) hit a lay-up on the ensuing possession. After Nolan missed the front end of a one-and-one, Jones hit a 3-pointer with under 30 seconds to go to make it 75-70. The Judges were able to force two turnovers and get an offensive rebound in the final half-minute, but couldn't convert any of their second chances.

Brandeis was led by Jones and D'Aguanno, who each scored 14 points. Jones stuffed the stat sheet with a game-high 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots. The double-double was his sixth of the season. D'Aguanno scored his 14 points on four 3-pointers, bring his career total to 241, while his career point total now stands at 993. With seven more points, he will become the 33rd member of Brandeis's 1,000-point club. Sawyer also reached double digits in scoring with 11.

WashU was paced by the duo of Rucker and Nolan, who combined for 49 points, including 32 of the team's 43 in the second half. Rucker led all players with 25 points, while tying for his team-high with seven rebounds. Nolan added 24 points thanks to 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Webb contributed 14 points off the bench. Jonathan Arenas had seven rebounds and a team-high three assists.

Brandeis returns to action on Sunday afternoon at 12 noon against the University of Chicago.