Men hang on to edge NYU, 72-69, on Senior Day

Brandeis men's basketball seniors, family and coach Jean Bain (photo by Glass)
Brandeis men's basketball seniors, family and coach Jean Bain (photo by Glass)

WALTHAM, Mass. – Four starters scored in double figures today as the Brandeis University men's basketball team hung on for a 72-69 Senior Day victory over NYU. With the win, the Judges finished up at 17-8 overall, 9-5 in the University Athletic Association. This is their highest regular-season win total since 2012-13, and their best record in the UAA since 2009-10, good for a third-place finish. NYU winds their campaign at 8-17, 1-13 UAA.

Brandeis led for much of the contest. After the lead changed hands four times in the first seven minutes, NYU held a 14-13 lead on a lay-up by Ethan Feldman at the 13:07 mark. Brandeis answered by scoring the next 12 points, including eight in a row by senior Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London). A putback of Sawyer's only miss in the stretch by rookie Matan Zucker (Manalapan, N.J./Lawrenceville Prep) gave Brandeis a 23-14 lead at the midpoint of first half. The Judges were still ahead by nine, 32-23, with just under five minutes to go on a Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy) jumper. NYU scored seven points in a row to climb within two, but a late Dylan Lien (Northboro, Mass./Worcester Academy) jumper put Brandeis ahead, 34-30, at the break.

NYU opened the second half with another big run, scoring eight of the first 10 points and taking a 38-36 lead on Jimmy Martinelli's 3-pointer at the 17:15 mark. Brandeis coach Jean Bain called a quick timeout, and Lien answered from beyond the arc to put the Judges back ahead for good. Brandeis was able to extend its lead to seven points on several occasions after that, but could never quite pull away, while NYU climbed within one but couldn't get over the hump.

Jones hit a couple of big 3-pointers with under five minutes to go that helped maintain the Brandeis lead, especially as the Judges slowed the pace and worked the shot clock. Junior Lawrence Sabir (Providence, R.I./LaSalle Academy) hit a driving layup with 2:57 on the clock that made it 70-64, but that was Brandeis's final basket of the game. NYU's Feldman hit two from the line on their next possession to cut the deficit to 70-66 with 2:34 left. After a couple of defensive stops that saw more of the shot clock bleed down, the Violets' Nick Macarchuk hit a 3-pointers with 48.1 left that got the visitors within 70-69 with 48.1 seconds on the clock. Brandeis got the ball in Jones's hands on the next possession, but his driving lay-up rolled off the rim and was grabbed by Macarchuk.

NYU's Dagan Nelson called timeout with 15.1 seconds on the clock. The Violets got the ball in front of their bench, and worked it around to Macarchuk. He drove the lane, but Brandeis's Zucker beat him to his spot and drew a charge with 6.8 seconds to go. The Violets fouled Brandeis senior Eric D'Aguanno (Saunderstown, R.I./St. Andrews School), who calmly hit both free throws with 5.2 seconds on the clock to make it a three-point game. NYU's Martinelli had a decent but rushed look at a game-tying shot and came up short, giving the Judges the win.

Brandeis was paced by Jones, who scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the second half. Jones hit 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. He also led the Judges with eight rebounds and had two steals. Sawyer finished with 16 points, 13 coming in the first half. He hit three 3-pointers, as did Lien, who contributed 11 points. Sabir finished with 10 points and a team-high four assists. Brandeis shot 44.1% from the floor (26-59) and 41.4% (12-29) from beyond the arc. They also had their best game of the season taking care of the ball, committing just two turnovers, while forcing 13, outscoring NYU, 12-2, in points off turnovers.

The Violets' Martinelli led all scorers with 20 points, while Feldman had 19 and Cade Hoppe added 16. Jaden Narwal had a game-high seven assists, while Bobby Hawkinson tied with Jones for game-high honors with eight rebounds. Macarchuk, Hoppe and Martinelli all had seven boards as NYU outrebounded Brandeis, 37-25. The Violets couldn't overcome their turnover deficit despite shooting 50.9% (28-55) from the field, though they were just 33.3% from downtown (6-18).

Before the game, Brandeis honored seniors D'Aguanno and Sawyer. D'Aguanno graduates with a school-record 244 3-pointers and is 30th on the all-time scoring list with 1,015 points. Sawyer now has 959 points and 168 3-pointers, seventh all-time, and will be back next year for a medical hardship season.