Meehan, Powell star as Judges edge Tufts, 52-50, in Big 4 Consolation

Nate Meehan '18 (photo by Sportspix/Mike Broglio)
Nate Meehan '18 (photo by Sportspix/Mike Broglio)

BABSON PARK, Mass. (courtesy Babson sports informationSophomore John Powell (Ashland, Mass./Brimmer and May School) recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and classmate Robinson Vilmont (Cambridge, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson Acad.) knocked down the go-ahead free throws as Brandeis University edged Tufts University, 52-50, in the consolation game of the New England Big 4 Challenge on Sunday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.

With the win, Brandeis is now 2-5 overall, while Tufts drops to 2-6 on the year. After the tournament, Powell earned All-Tournament honors. 

First-year Nate Meehan (Lowell, Mass./Phillips Andover) added 14 points and was 4-of-4 from three-point range for the Judges, while junior Colby Smith (North Andover, Mass./No. Andover) chipped in with seven points and four rebounds.

Sophomore Hunter Sabety (Oceanside, N.Y.) scored a team-high 12 points for the Jumbsos. Junior Stephen Haladyna (South Hamilton, Mass.) added seven points and four rebounds, sophomore Tom Palleschi (Haverhill, Mass.) and sophomore Ryan Spadaford (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) each chipped in with six points.

After slow starts by both teams Brandeis opened up the biggest lead of the game for either team at 15-10 on a jump shot by first-year Jordan Cooper (Weston, Fla./Sagemont School) with 8:14 left in the opening stanza. Following a timeout Tufts senior Ben Ferris (Essex Junction, Vt.) knocked down a three pointer and sophomore Tarik Smith (Bronx, N.Y.) buried a pair of free throws to tie the game at 15-15, but the Judges responded by closing out the half with a 17-8 spurt to take a 32-23 edge into the locker room.

Meehan drilled a pair of three-pointers and had eight points during the run, while Powell added six points for Brandeis, which held Tufts to just 25 percent shooting (7-or-28) from the floor in the opening period. The Jumbos went just 1-of-13 from beyond the arc and committed 11 first-half turnovers.

Tufts pulled within one at 41-40 on a layup by Sabety with 9:35 to play in the game, but Meehan answered with a three-pointer two possessions later to give the Judges a four-point lead. First-year Thomas Lapham (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) knocked down a trey and Palleschi followed with a jumper to give the Jumbos a 45-44 edge with 7:03 remaining. Sabety scored two trips later to make it a three-point game, but Meehan followed with another triple to tie the game at 47-47 with 3:28 to go.

Smith followed two Lapham free throws  with a layup, and Vilmont knocked down two at the line to give Brandeis the lead for good at 51-49 with 2:37 remaining. Sophomore Tim Reale (Mason, Ohio/St. Andrews School) made it a two-point game on a free throw with 16 seconds to go, and Haladyna missed a potential game-winning three-pointer from the left wing and then an off-balance floater at the buzzer as the Judges held on for the win.

Both teams struggled from the floor as Brandeis shot 30.9 percent, while Tufts shot just 28.8 percent. The Jumbos held a 43-31 edge on the glass.

Both teams return to action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. as Tufts hosts Plymouth State, while Brandeis visits nationally-ranked Amherst.