Men's basketball falls short against defending NCAA Champion Babson

Eric D'Aguanno '20
Eric D'Aguanno '20

MEDFORD, Mass. – Four different Judges cracked the ten-point mark on Saturday afternoon, but the Brandeis men's basketball team could not complete its comeback against the defending NCAA champion Babson Beavers, losing 89-81 in the first game of the 2017 New England Big Four Challenge at Tufts University. With the loss, Brandeis falls to 1-5, while Babson gets back above .500 at 4-3.

Sophomore Eric D'Aguanno (Saunderstown, R.I. / Saint Andrews) shouldered much of the scoring load for Brandeis in the first half, scoring 15 of his team-high 21 on five three-pointers. Babson started out hot, using an 18-0 run to go up, 24-5, midway through the period, but the Judges fought back, eventually going on a 19-5 run of its own to close out the half, helped out by ten straight Brandeis points coming from senior Nate Meehan (Lowell, Mass. / Phillips Andover Academy), who scored ten in the half on 4-7 shooting, en route to tying his season-high of 13. At the break, Babson led, 46-36.

The Beavers immediately went to work lengthening their lead, going up by 20 just over five minutes into the period and maintaining that lead with 10:40 remaining, up 71-51. Thanks in part to nine of freshman Lawrence Sabir's (Pawtucket, R.I. / LaSalle Academy) 15 second-half points, Brandeis went on a 28-13 run, narrowing Babson's lead to five with 2:11 to go. The Judges ran out of time, however, and were eventually forced to foul Babson, leading to a final score of 89-81.

Senior Latye Workman (Brooklyn, N.Y. / Bedford Academy) was the remaining Judge to reach double-digit points, scoring 10 points. He also contributed four rebounds. Rookie Semih Say (Istanbul, Turkey / Brewster Academy) just missed the ten-point mark, scoring nine on 4-7 shooting, and also grabbed three boards and had a team-high two steals.

Both teams lit it up from the field; Babson shot a stellar 61.0% (36-59), while Brandeis shot 53.8% (28-52). The Beavers also won the three-point battle, shooting 61.9% on 13 of 21, while the Judges shot 46.2% (12-26). Brandeis attempted a lot more free throws than Babson, making 13 of 18 compared to the Beavers' 4-7. Babson handily won the battle over points in the paint, 40-26.

All five Babson starters scored double-digit points, with four of the five scoring 16 or more. Bradley Jacks led with 22 on 9-14 shooting, also contributing five rebounds and two each of assists, steals, and blocks. Shyheim Ulrickson had 18 points, half of which came from three-point land, and also had three rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Brandon Johnson had 17 points and three rebounds; Nick Comenale had 16 points (including 4-6 from three), four rebounds, and team-highs in assists (five) and steals (four). Andrew Jaworski had 10 points and led the board battle for the Beavers, gobbling up eight rebounds (three offensive).

Both teams return to action tomorrow to finish up the Big Four Challenge. Babson plays Salem State, which won its first game over Tufts, 77-67, in the championship at 3 PM. Brandeis plays in the consolation game at 1 PM against Tufts.

--Corey Cohen