CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Brandeis University men's basketball team erased a nine-point second-half deficit at Case Western Reserve tonight, but the Spartans answered with eight-straight points after the Judges evened things up and the hosts hung on for a 69-64 University Athletic Association victory in Adelbert Gymnasium. The Judges fall to 5-14, 1-7 UAA, while the Spartans improve to 11-8, 5-3 UAA.
Brandeis led by as many as 12 points in the first half after getting off to a hot shooting start, hitting 10 of their first 19 shots. The lead was 25-13 when senior Latye Workman (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bedford Academy) hit a lay-up with 7:37 to go in the first. CWRU closed the stanza on a 13-4 run to get within 29-26. T.J. Duckett and Monty Khela accounted for 20 of the Spartans' 26 points with 10 each, while Brandeis was paced by six each from rookie Chandler Jones (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth Academy) and sophomore Collin Sawyer (New London, Conn./New London).
The Spartans hit the first two buckets of the second half to take the lead on a Duckett lay-up. The hosts took their biggest lead of the game on a Sam Hansen jumper that made it 49-40 with 9:27 to go in the contest. Brandeis responded with a 13-4 run of their own over the next four minutes, with sophomore Eric D'Aguanno (Saunderstown, R.I./St. James Academy) hitting two 3-pointers in the run, and rookie guard Lawrence Sabir (Providence, R.I./LaSalle Academy) converting a traditional three-point play at 5:34 to tie the game at 53-53.
After the hosts went back ahead from the line, a Sabir jumper knotted the game at 55-all. The Spartans answered by scoring the next eight points of the game, on a Khela lay-up and trifectas by Sam Hansen and Antonio Ionadi, making it 63-55 with 3:03 left. Sabir stopped the bleeding for Brandeis with another and-one situation to cut the deficit to five. After Duckett hit one-of-two from the line, a lay-up by rookie Semih Say (Istanbul, Turkey/Brewster Academy, N.H.) and a Workman jumper got the Judges within one possession with just under a minute to go.
Duckett, the Spartans' leading scorer, then notched a key bucket by corralling a high pass and splitting a double-team to coax in a lay-up that made it 64-60, Case, with 28 seconds to go. He played the hero on the other end on the next possession, drawing a charge to deny Workman, and the Spartans held off the Judges from there.
Brandeis had an extremely balanced attack, with five players scoring between eight and 12 points, paced by Sabir, who scored 10 of his team-high 12 in the second half. Workman was the only other player in double figures with 10 points. D'Aguanno finished with nine points, all on 3-pointers, while Jones and Sawyer had eight points each.
Similarly, the Judges had six players grab four or five rebounds, with Workman and junior Corey Sherman (Penn Valley, Pa./Lower Merion) each pulling down five caroms, and four each for Sabir, Jones, Sawyer and Say. Jones and Workman tied for team-high honors with three assists.
Case Western Reserve was paced by Duckett, who finished with 22 points, and Khela, who had 16 for the game. Duckett also led all players with eight rebounds, while Hansen and Connor Nally each had six. Michael Hollis had a game-high six assists.
Brandeis outshot CWRU, 44% (25-57) to 36% (23-64), but the Spartans outscored the Judges, 18-8, from the free-throw line. The Spartans also had a small edge on the glass, 41-37, but handily won the turnover battle, 16-9, and earned a 22-6 advantage in points off those miscues.
Brandeis will return to UAA action on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh when they take on Carnegie Mellon at 12 p.m. Case will host NYU at the same time.