Men's basketball defeats Chicago, 70-66

WALTHAM, Mass. – Thanks in large part to a career game from junior Corey Sherman (Penn Valley, Pa. / Lower Merion), the Brandeis men's basketball team pulled out a close victory against the University of Chicago Maroons, 70-66. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Judges against the Maroons. Brandeis moves to 6-16 (2-9 in the University Athletic Association), while Chicago falls to 10-12 (4-7 UAA).

The game started off evenly-matched, with neither team leading by more than five over the first ten-plus minutes of the game. Brandeis was able to pull away a little bit from the Maroons, thanks in large part to a three-point barrage that saw the Judges shoot 58.3 percent (7-for-12) from beyond the arc in the first half, including three from sophomore Eric D'Aguanno (Saunderstown, R.I. / Saint Andrews). But Chicago was able to answer back, and kept the Brandeis lead at a manageable eight heading into the break, with a score of 43-35.

The second half again started off balanced between both teams, but a little over six minutes into the period the Judges were able to extend their lead to 12, their largest of the evening. Brandeis was was able to maintain a double-digit lead for a large chunk of the remainder of the game, but with a few minutes remaining Chicago's Jake Fenlon hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the Brandeis lead to four, at 66-62. After a Lawrence Sabir (Pawtucket, R.I. / LaSalle Academy) steal and layup, the Maroons converted on consecutive possessions to make it a two-point game. D'Aguanno got to the line with 13 seconds remaining and hit two clutch free throws to make the score 70-66, which is how the game ended after Chicago could not convert on two three-point attempts.

Both teams had identical shooting percentages from the field, at 44.8 percent (26-for-58). Brandeis, however, was much more efficient than the Maroons from deep, shooting 42.9 percent (9-for-21) compared to 30.0 percent (9-for-30). The Judges were also able to take their free points, making nine of 10 shots from the charity stripe to prevent any Chicago comeback.

Individually, Sherman shone brightly, scoring a career-high 24 points in a career-high 33 minutes. He both took and made the most shots of his career, hitting 10 of 17 from the field, and also converting on four of six from three-point land. The 24 points is the second-highest total for the Judges this season, behind Sabir's 26 in back-to-back games against Lasell and UMass-Dartmouth in November. D'Aguanno also scored 24 points this season, against Becker on November 18. Sabir had a solid game for Brandeis, potting 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting and dishing out a game-high seven assists. D'Aguanno was the final Judge to put up a double-digit point total, scoring 13 points.

The Maroons were led by Jake Fenlon, who hit 6 of 9 three-pointers and had 20 points. Collin Barthel also had a big game, notching a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan Baum contributed in many categories, scoring nine points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing out a team-high five assists, and getting two steals.

Both teams return to action next Friday to kick off the final two-game weekend of the regular season. Brandeis plays at Rochester at 8 p.m. EST, while Chicago returns home to host Carnegie Mellon an hour later at 8 p.m. CST.

--Corey Cohen