Thriller Goes To Harvard 78-75

Austin Morgan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Austin Morgan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Morgan Scores 22 Points To Pace Bulldogs

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Yale did a number of things well in Friday's matchup with Harvard. The Bulldogs shot 52.1 percent from the field and outrebounded the Crimson 30-24. Harvard, though, scored 22 points off 18 Yale turnovers and escaped with a hard-fought 78-75 victory before a crowd of 1,763 at Lavietes Pavilion.

The game featured 11 ties and 13 lead changes.

The final tie was at 70 with 1:37 left. Christian Webster's layup off a nifty give-and-go with Keith Wright gave the Crimson the lead. Yale had a couple of chances to tie. Reggie Willhite missed a pull-up jumper and Jeremiah Kreisberg's tip attempt wouldn't fall.

The Bulldogs were then forced to foul, and Brandyn Curry made two free throws with 37 seconds remaining. Two Austin Morgan free throws pulled Yale back within two, but Wright got behind the defense for a dunk that made it 76-72 with 20 seconds left.

After Greg Mangano missed a three-pointer, Laurant Rivard sank two free throws to seal the victory. Morgan hit a three-pointer as time expired to cap the scoring.

Morgan finished with 22 points to pace the Bulldogs. He was 4-of-4 on three-pointers and 10-for-10 from the foul line. Mangano added 19 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Kreisberg had 12 points and 10 rebounds to post his first career double-double. Porter Braswell scored 10 points.

Kyle Casey led three Harvard players in double figures with 18 points. Wright added 17 points and Rivard contributed 14 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench.

The Crimson's biggest lead was six early in the second half, while Yale's largest advantage was five midway through the first half.

The Bulldogs had a 39-38 lead at halftime, but Harvard started the second half with an 8-1 run. Mangano, though, scored the game's next five points to get Yale right back in it.

It looked like the Bulldogs were in trouble when Mangano picked up his fourth foul with 12 minutes left, but they stayed close, trailing only 63-62 when he returned six minutes later.

"We were right there," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "Rhett [Anderson] gave us some good minutes, especially on defense."

Kreisberg also played a big role in keeping Yale in the game. He finished 6-of-11 from the field. Six of his rebounds came on the offensive end.

"We talked about trying to get Jeremiah more post touches," Jones said. "We knew the four-man matchup would be key."

The Bulldogs (11-10, 4-3 Ivy) remain in third place, two games behind Harvard and 2.5 games in back of first-place Princeton. Yale is at Dartmouth on Saturday at 7 p.m. before playing four straight home games.

"A lot of our tough games, we've played on the road," Jones said. "We've shown we can play with anybody."

Two of Yale's Ivy losses have come by four points or fewer – 67-63 at Princeton and 78-75 at Harvard.

NOTES: Jones' brother Joe, who is the associate head coach at Boston College, was at the game… Harvard's bench outscored Yale's 25-6… The Crimson also had a 38-22 edge in points in the paint.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity