Bulldogs Hold Off Brown 69-64 In Ivy Opener

Reggie Willhite. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Reggie Willhite. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Mangano Posts Third Straight Double-Double With 23 Points And 17 Rebounds

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – There's a pretty good chance most Ivy League games are going to be decided in the last five minutes. That's the way it went down in the Ivy opener for Yale, and the Bulldogs responded well. Greg Mangano scored six of his team-high 23 points late in the second half as Yale earned a hard-fought 69-64 victory over Brown before a crowd of 1,115 at the Pizzitola Center.

The Bulldogs (8-7, 1-0 Ivy) led for most of the second half but couldn't put away the pesky Bears until the final minute.

Ahead by one with five minutes remaining, Mangano scored Yale's next six points. The last two on a short jumper gave the Bulldogs a 66-61 lead with 1:56 left. Mangano, though, committed his fifth foul on Brown's next possession.

Andrew McCarthy hit one of two free throws and Garrett Leffelman made a layup to pull Brown within two, 66-64, with 24 seconds remaining. Reggie Willhite increased the lead to three by making one free throw and then stole the ball from Brown's Sean McGonagill.

Willhite, though, missed the front end of a one-and-one with 12 seconds left, giving the Bears a chance to tie, but Tucker Halpern's three-pointer from the wing missed. Porter Braswell grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made both free throws with four seconds left to seal the victory.

"We had a couple of leads that I wish we could have held on to, but this is what every Ivy League game will be like," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.

Mangano was huge for the Bulldogs. He was 11-of-17 from the field and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds in 31 minutes.

"I felt pretty good. I had my touch in the warm ups," said Mangano, who posted his third straight double-double. "I was working all week in practice on post moves."

Willhite also had a big game, finishing with a career-high 19 points. He was 8-of-11 from the field and added two assists, two steals and a block in 34 minutes. Austin Morgan, Michael Grace and Sam Martin all contributed six points.

Halpern paced Brown (6-8, 0-1 Ivy) with 16 points and seven rebounds.

"Any time you win on the road, it's a great thing," Jones said. "It's nice to start 1-0."

Mangano already had his double-double by halftime. He scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.

"Greg can be a dominant force," Jones said. "He did a great job."

There were a couple of times in the first half where it looked like Yale might pull away. The Bulldogs led by nine, 20-11, midway through the half. Then Halpern caught fire. He scored 13 straight points for the Bears, the last three giving them their biggest lead of the game, 28-22, with 5:46 left.

Yale, though, closed the first half with a 15-8 run, capped by a Mangano layup off a nifty feed from Martin as time expired that gave the Bulldogs a 37-36 lead at the intermission.

NOTES: The victory was the 150th at Yale for Jones… Yale outscored the Bears 38-20 in the paint and outrebounded them 41-36… The Bulldogs got 16 points from their bench… Braswell is now 16-of-18 from the free throw line in the final five minutes of Yale's victories… Mangano's double-double was the eighth of his career and the sixth of this season… Brown made its first 15 free throws but them missed three of its last four…The same two teams will meet again in New Haven next Saturday. Tipoff at the John J. Lee Amphitheater is slated for 2 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity