Late rally gets Becker past men's hoops, 71-66

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University men's basketball team led by six points with 2:54 to go, but visiting Becker College hit 3-pointers on three-straight possessions to take lead and the Hawks hung on for a 71-66 non-conference victory in Red Auerbach Arena tonight. With the loss, the Judges fall to 3-4 on the season, while the Hawks even their record at 4-4.

The Judges fell despite putting a season-high four players in double figures in scoring. Senior Tim Reale (Mason, Ohio/St. Andrew's, R.I., School) led the Judges with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and from the line. Reale scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half. Junior guard Nate Meehan (Lowell, Mass./Phillips Andover) notched 14 points, on short of his season-best, hitting 5-of-12 overall and 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Rookie Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London) reached double figures for the second time in three games with 13 points, all in the first half, while junior Jordan Cooper (Weston, Fla./Sagemont School) tallied 11. Senior guard Robinson Vilmont (Cambridge, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson)  finished one basket and one assist shy of a double-double with eight points and a career-high nine assists.

Becker had three players reach double digits in scoring, including two with 20 or more. Samuel Durodola led the visitors with a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 overall, while also pulling down a game-high 15 rebounds and blocking three shots. Kareem Davis played all 40 minutes for the Hawks and scored 20 points, while Kyle Credle finished with 17, both hitting three 3-pointers. Credle and Khairi Mosley each notched four assists for Becker.

Overall, the game featured seven ties and nine lead changes. Becker was ahead late in the first half when a Durodola free throw made it 36-32 with 2:30 to go, but Sawyer answered with two of his own from the line. After a Hawk bucket by Kareem Davis, Sawyer hit from downtown with 51 seconds on the clock, and Cooper did the same with five seconds remaining to give Brandeis a 40-38 lead at the break,

The teams traded buckets to open the second half, with an Antonio White trifecta just under three minutes in giving the lead back to Becker. The lead changed hands two more times before Meehan connected from deep to make it 51-49, while a Reale put-back made it a two-possession game again at 53-49, five minutes in. Another Meehan 3-ball and two from the charity stripe by Reale gave the Judges their largest lead of the game, 58-49, with 12:55 to go.

Brandeis held Becker off after the visitors got within three at 5:53, with Reale scoring two more from the line, then a lay-up at 3:54 to make it 64-57, Judges. Durodola answered with two foul shots, followed by one from the line by Reale to give Brandeis a 65-59 lead.

Becker got hot from 3-point range at the right time. Credle cut the six-point lead in half, and after the Judges tried to answer, it was Davis who connected from downtown with 1:50 left to tie the game at 65-65. Another miss from beyond the arc for Brandeis was followed by Khairi dialing long distance to take a 68-65 lead. Brandeis missed on their response, and although they got a stop on the other end, Durodola got the offensive board and allowed his team to get to the line, where Davis hit two to make it a five-point game. The teams each got one last foul shot to account for the final score.

Brandeis is now off for finals for the rest of the semester. The Judges will meet Fitchburg State on the road on December 30th at 1 p.m. to close out 2016 and will return home on January 2, 2017 to meet Bates College at 4 p.m. Becker travels to Cambridge to meet Lesley University this Saturday at 7 p.m.