Harvard, Dartmouth Visit Lee Amphitheater This Weekend

Porter Braswell (photo by Don Clark,Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Reach Midpoint Of Ivy Season

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs reach the midpoint of the Ivy League season with visits from Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend. The Crimson come to town on Friday, while Yale hosts Dartmouth on Saturday on Youth Day. Tipoff at the John J. Lee Amphitheater is slated for 7 p.m. both nights. The Bulldogs (9-14, 3-3 Ivy) are coming off an important 79-64 victory over Columbia last Saturday. Alex Zampier led Yale with 18 points, including the 1,000th of his career. He is only the 23rd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark, and his accomplishment will be recognized prior to the start of the Harvard game. Zampier, who is second in the Ivy League in scoring (17.5 ppg.), also has 157 career steals, which ties him with Daniel Okonkwo for the most in Yale history. The Bulldogs dominated Columbia on the glass, outrebounding the Lions 46-27. Yale is 8-5 when it outrebounds its opponents this season, but 0-8 when it gets outrebounded. Lee Amphitheater has earned a reputation as one of the toughest buildings to win in the Ivy League in recent years, but the Bulldogs are just 4-4 there this season, including 1-2 in Ivy play. Yale is 78-43 (.645) at home in James Jones' tenure as head coach.

BUSY WEEKEND AT LEE AMPHITHEATER

   There will be a number of special events at Lee Amphitheater this weekend. Friday's game with Harvard is Yale Employee Night. All Yale employees receive two complimentary tickets by showing their ID. Saturday's game with Dartmouth is Youth Day. All children 14-and-under are admitted free. There will be a post-game autograph session with the Yale players, along with face painting and prize drawings during the game. At both games, Yale Basketball Association members, season ticket holders and corporate sponsors are invited to join the Ivy Lounge, located on the concourse behind the skyboxes, opposite the main entrance. Enjoy pre-game appetizers, soft drinks, beer and wine beginning a half-hour before the game and continuing throughout the game. Fans can become a member of the Yale Basketball Association at either game. The Yale men's and women's basketball and gymnastics teams have joined forces to assist in this year's WBCA Pink Zone initiative. Fans at this weekend's games can help the cause by participating in raffles or bidding on the silent auction items. All the proceeds collected will be donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

HISTORY LESSON

Yale head coach James Jones has been quite successful against Harvard and Dartmouth during his tenure. Jones is 16-4 against both teams. The Bulldogs had swept the home weekend against the two teams nine straight times before Harvard topped Yale 69-59 in the season finale last year. The Bulldogs have 113 victories all-time against the Crimson, their most against any opponent.

SCOUTING HARVARD

The Crimson (15-5, 4-2 Ivy) already has its most wins in a season since 1996-97. Harvard has victories over Boston College, George Washington and Santa Clara on its resume. Two of the Crimson's losses came against Georgetown and Connecticut. Jeremy Lin is fourth in the Ivy League in scoring (17.3 ppg.), second in assists (4.5 per game) and first in steals (2.9 per game). He is one of 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, presented to the nation's top point guard. Kyle Casey was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after averaging 10 points and 7.5 rebounds against Princeton and Penn last weekend. It is the third time this season he has been honored.

SCOUTING DARTMOUTH

The Big Green (4-16, 0-6 Ivy) play at Brown on Friday night. David Rufful and Ronnie Dixon (both at 8.1 ppg.) share the team lead in scoring. Dartmouth is third in the Ivy League in scoring defense (64.0 ppg.). Mark Graupe was named Dartmouth's interim head coach on Jan. 14 after Terry Dunn's resignation. Graupe joined the Big Green staff last summer after spending a year as an assistant coach at Colorado State. 

CORNELL, COLUMBIA WEEKEND NOTES

  • Paul Nelson and Jordan Gibson were re-inserted into the starting lineup against Cornell and both had solid weekends. Nelson scored a career-high 13 points in the win over Columbia and grabbed eight rebounds, while Gibson contributed nine points, three rebounds and a steal.
  • Yale's bench outscored its opponents bench 62-34 in the two games.
  • The Bulldogs went to the free throw line 70 times in the two games. Yale was 22-of-32 against Cornell and 32-of-38 against Columbia.
  • Greg Mangano recorded his third double-double of the season against the Lions, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
  • James Jones improved to 8-5 against his younger brother Joe, who is in his seventh season as the head coach at Columbia.

BULLDOGS PICKED 5TH IN PRESEASON IVY POLL

The Bulldogs were picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League preseason media poll, released on Oct. 28 during a media teleconference. Yale has finished higher than projected in three of the last four years. Two-time defending champion Cornell is the overwhelming favorite. The Big Red received all 16 first-place votes. Princeton is second followed by Penn and Harvard. Columbia (sixth), Brown and Dartmouth round out the poll. The Bulldogs, who finished in a tie for second place with Princeton last year, lose four starters but return Alex Zampier, an honorable mention All-Ivy selection. Zampier led the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.848) and was eighth in scoring (13.2 ppg.) and second in steals (1.6 per game). In addition, Yale welcomes back four other players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game.

2009-10 Ivy League Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll

1. Cornell - 128 points (16 first-place votes)
2. Princeton - 96
3. Penn - 92
4. Harvard - 86
5. Yale - 59
6. Columbia - 55
7. Brown - 41
8. Dartmouth - 19

CONNECTICUT 6

The state of Connecticut has a rich basketball tradition. A new chapter in that history starts this season with the formation of the Connecticut 6, a partnership between six of Connecticut's Division I schools - Yale, Central Connecticut, Fairfield, Hartford, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. The inaugural Connecticut 6 Classic tripleheader was Nov. 13 at the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Classic moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville in 2010. In addition to the tripleheader, a preseason All-Connecticut 6 team was selected and there will be a Connecticut 6 Player of the Week chosen each week during the season.

HEAD COACH JAMES JONES

James Jones has made quite an impact on the Yale basketball program. In 10 seasons, Jones has guided Yale to success not seen in New Haven in 40 years. In 2001-02, Jones led the Bulldogs to their first Ivy League title since 1962-63 and the first postseason tournament victory in the 107-year history of Yale basketball. The team won 21 games, the second most in the modern era of Yale basketball, and reached the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Jones, the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League, earned his 100th victory at Yale when the Bulldogs beat Columbia on Feb. 9, 2007. He is only the fourth coach in school history with at least 100 wins. The Bulldogs have won at least 10 Ivy games twice during his tenure and have had a .500 or better record in league play in each of the last nine years. Three assistant coaches who worked under Jones have gone on to become head coaches - Isaiah Cavaco (Oberlin), Mark Sembrowich (Academy of Arts University) and Mark Gilbride (Clarkson).Jones served as an assistant coach to Villanova's Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team.

SIX FORMER YALIES IN PRO RANKS

Six Yale graduates, all coached by James Jones, are currently playing professional basketball. Edwin Draughan '05 (FOS Ouest, France), Dominick Martin '06 (Illescas CLM, Spain), Matt Kyle '08 (Tunisia), Eric Flato '08 (Plymouth Raiders, England) and Ross Morin '09 (SAM Massagno, Switzerland) are playing overseas, while Travis Pinick '09 was was selected in the eighth round of the 2009 NBA D-League Draft by the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

2009-10 SCHEDULE NOTES

• The 2009-10 schedule features 31 regular season games, including 12 in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. It will mark the most games Yale has played in a season since 2001-02 when the Bulldogs finished 21-11.

• The Bulldogs made their second appearance in the Preseason NIT. Yale fell to No. 1 ranked UConn in the tournament to open the 2003-04 season. The Bulldogs played four games in this year's tournament.

• The game with Quinnipiac on Nov. 21 capped a busy day on the Yale campus. The 126th edition of the Yale-Harvard football game was played at noon at Yale Bowl. Yale and Quinnipiac had met only once before, an 87-69 Bobcat win in 1999 in the Phoenix Classic at the Hartford Civic Center.

• Senior Alex Zampier had a homecoming when the Bulldogs visited Albany on Jan. 3. Zampier, an East Greenbush, N.Y., native, graduated as the second all-time leading scorer at Columbia High School with 1,381 points. Yale head coach James Jones is a 1996 Albany graduate. He played for and coached with the legendary Dr. Richard Sauers, one of only seven coaches to win more than 700 games.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity