Hot second half lifts Brandeis men past Carnegie Mellon, 66-44

Dylan Lien '23 (Photo by
Dylan Lien '23 (Photo by

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team caught fire in the second half, shooting 63 percent overall and 64 percent from 3-point range as the Judges earned a season split with host Carnegie Mellon, 66-44, this evening in Pittsburgh. With the win, the Judges improve to 13-9, 4-7 in the University Athletic Association, while the Tartans fall to 11-12, 4-9 UAA.

The game was rescheduled from Waltham earlier in the season and played in Pittsburgh, as the Judges were able to travel without missing classes due to February break. After shooting 34 percent from the floor in their first trip to CMU, the Judges connected on 48 percent overall (26-56), including their torrid second half, when they hit 17 of their 27 shots, including nine of 14 from beyond the arc after hitting just 2 of 10 from deep in the first half.

Brandeis had a balanced attack, paced by graduate student Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London) and junior Dylan Lien (Northborough, Mass./Worcester Academy), who each scored 12 points. All of the duo's scoring came in the second half, with Lien hitting 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. First-year forward Toby Harris (Durham, N.C./Durham Acad.) added 11 points, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Graduate student Tommy Eastman (Honeoye Falls, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima) added nine points and senior Nolan Hagerty (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) finished with eight. The Judges outrebounded CMU, 40-34, despite no player with more than six. Hagerty had six boards, and three different players had five each. Senior Sam Nassar (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) led the Judges with four assists as the team had 17 helpers on their 27 buckets.

Carnegie Mellon shot just 30 percent (18-60) for the game after hitting 51 percent in the first meeting. Jack Stone scored a game-high 17 points off the bench, but no other Tartan player scored more than seven. Forward Kevin Sax led all players with 13 rebounds, but only one other player had five or more. Josh Berry led the hosts with three assists.

The game featured three ties and three lead changes early in the first half. A Stone 3-pointer with just over seven minutes elapsed in the game gave the Tartans a 10-6 lead. Brandeis responded with 15 unanswered points, holding Carnegie Mellon scoreless for more than a 10-minute span. Brandeis took an 11-10 lead on a Darrett Justice (Haymarket, Va./Highland School) traditional three-point play, and the Judges never trailed again. Hagerty added four points during the stretch, and Harris and Nassar each connected from downtown, the latter give Brandeis a 21-10 lead with just under four minutes left in the period. CMU finished with an 8-2 run to get within 23-18 at the break. Over the first 8:06 of the second half, Brandeis went on a 19-10 run, hitting 3-pointers on five straight buckets at one point to take a 42-28 lead, and they never looked back. The Judges led by as many as 31 points with just under four minutes to go before the final 22-point margin.

Brandeis wraps up their 2021-22 season with a home-and-home UAA series against NYU. The Judges and Violets meet Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the Brooklyn Athletic Facility, and against on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Waltham at the Gosman Athletic Center.