December 16, 2010

One More Test Before Holiday Break

Bulldogs Host Sacred Heart Sunday

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After a 10-day layoff for final exams, the Bulldogs return to the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater to host local-rival Sacred Heart on Sunday. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. Yale, which received votes in this week's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, has won four of its last five games.

The Bulldogs are 3-0 at home. In those three games, they have averaged 80.7 points, shot 50.7 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from three-point range. Yale's last game was a 75-53 victory at Bryant on Dec. 8. The Bulldogs' last two wins have been by an average margin of 21.5 points. The Bulldogs' four losses have come against teams that began the week with a 34-7 (.829) combined record. Austin Morgan began the week seventh in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.542), which leads the Ivy League. Morgan (15.9 ppg.) leads the Bulldogs in scoring. Greg Mangano (9.1 rpg.) leads the Ivy League in rebounding. In his last four games, Reggie Willhite is averaging 14 points and shooting 58.8 percent from the field. He had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field in the victory over Bryant.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale is 4-0 all-time against Sacred Heart in Lee Amphitheater. The Pioneers, though, have won the last two meetings between the teams, including a 92-86 shootout last year at the Connecticut 6 Classic in Bridgeport. Overall Yale leads the series 6-3.

SCOUTING SACRED HEART

The Pioneers (3-7) have won two straight games, including a 75-66 victory at Stony Brook on Dec. 11. Jerrell Thompson leads SHU in scoring (13.7 ppg.) and rebounding (5.1 rpg.). Shane Gibson averages 13.3 points and has made a team-best 18 three-pointers. Sacred Heart had its biggest comeback on the Division I level in a 56-55 win over Hartford on Dec. 8. The Pioneers erased a 20-point Hawk lead with 8:17 to play taking their only lead of the night on a Stan Dulaire free throw with 0.2 seconds left for the win. Dave Bike is in his 33rd year as the head coach of Sacred Heart. He has a career record of 499-450, ranking him 20th among active coaches. Only Jim Boeheim of Syracuse as spent more time coaching at one institution. Sacred Heart was picked to finish ninth in this year's edition of the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.

BULLDOGS PICKED FIFTH IN IVY LEAGUE PRESEASON

Yale was picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League by the select panel of 17 Ivy media representatives. Yale, though, shouldn't put too much stock in those prognostications. The Bulldogs have finished higher than projected in four of the last five years. Princeton, which received 12 of 17 first-place votes, is the preseason Ivy League favorite. The Tigers return their top five scorers and top two rebounders. Harvard got four first-place votes and is second followed by Cornell (one first-place vote) and Penn. Brown, Columbia and Dartmouth round out the poll.

2010-11 IVY LEAGUE PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

First-Place Votes in Parentheses

Rank    School                         Points

1.          Princeton (12)          128

2.          Harvard (4)               120

3.          Cornell (1)                  96

4.          Penn                          89

5.          Yale                            57

6.          Brown                         55

7.          Columbia                    48

8.          Dartmouth                  19

MANGANO NAMED TO CONNECTICUT 6 PRESEASON TEAM

Greg Mangano, who led the Ivy League in blocked shots last year, has been named to the All-Connecticut 6 preseason team. Mangano, a 6-foot-10 junior, tied for fifth in the league in rebounding (5.5 rpg.). In addition, he was fourth on the team in scoring (7.5 ppg.) and tied for second in rebounding. Joining Mangano on the All-Connecticut 6 preseason team is Quinnipiac forward Justin Rutty, Central Connecticut guard Shemik Thompson, Fairfield guard Derek Needham, Hartford guard Joe Zeglinski and Sacred Heart guard Jerrell Thompson.

CONNECTICUT 6

 The state of Connecticut has a rich basketball tradition. A new chapter in that history started in 2009-10 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 second annual Connecticut 6 Classic tripleheader was Nov. 13 at the the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. 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 11 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 nine of his 11 years. Four assistant coaches who worked under Jones have gone on to become head coaches - Isaiah Cavaco (Oberlin), Mark Sembrowich (Academy of Arts University), Mark Gilbride (Clarkson) and Ted Hotaling (New Haven).Jones served as an assistant coach to Villanova's Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team.

2010-11 SCHEDULE NOTES

  • The Bulldogs will face seven teams that reached the post-season last year – Cornell (NCAA), Vermont (NCAA), Lehigh (NCAA), Quinnipiac (NIT), Illinois (NIT), Harvard (CIT) and Princeton (CBI).
  • Yale will play five afternoon home games in Lee Amphitheater – Army (Nov. 27), Sacred Heart (Dec. 19), Lehigh (Dec. 31), Baruch College (Jan. 8) and Brown (Jan. 22). All are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
  • There were familiar faces on the opposing bench when the Bulldogs played at Boston College. Steve Donahue, who guided Cornell to the last three Ivy League titles, is in his first season as the head coach at BC. His associate head coach, Joe Jones, was the head coach at Columbia for the last seven years and is the younger brother of Yale head coach James Jones.
  • Boston College was one of six opponents that will have first-year head coaches. Hartford (John Gallagher), Holy Cross (Milan Brown), Columbia (Kyle Smith), Cornell (Bill Courtney) and Dartmouth (Paul Cormier) are the others.
  • Yale played Illinois for only the second time. The first meeting was a 71-67 Illini victory in the 1949 NCAA Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
  • Yale will be playing Stanford for third time in the last four years. The Cardinal became the first Pac 10 to school to play in Lee Amphitheater in 2008.
  • Yale will host a game on New Year's Eve for the first time since 1930. The Bulldogs play Lehigh in a 2 p.m. tip-off.
  • Three of the Bulldogs' first four Ivy games will be on the road.
  • Three-time defending Ivy League champion Cornell visits Lee Amphitheater on Feb. 4.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Michael Sands has withdrawn from Yale for personal reasons and will not be with the team... The Bulldogs remained in Boston following the BC game. In addition to taking a tour of Fenway Park, the team attended the Yale-Harvard football game at Harvard Stadium... Three Bulldogs took an active role in the Yale Athletic Department's annual Holiday Gift Giving Initiative. Alfonso Costa, Michael Grace and Jesse Pritchard visited Augusta Lewis Troup School on Friday, Dec. 10, to distribute gifts collected. Costa, who also plays lacrosse, is chair of Yale's Student-Athlete Community Outreach Committee.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

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