Penn, Princeton Visit On Alumni Weekend

Greg Kelley (Ron Waite photo)

Bulldogs Conclude Busy Stretch Of Home Games

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs will kick off February where they spent most of last month - in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Yale completes a busy stretch of home games with visits from Penn on Friday and Princeton Saturday. Both games tipoff at 7 p.m.

At 3-1 in Ivy play, the Bulldogs are still very much in the Ivy League title race. Ten years ago, Yale was in the same situation heading into the Penn-Princeton weekend. That 2001-02 team won both games and went on to earn a share of the championship. A number of players from that team will be on hand for Saturday's Alumni Day festivities. In order to have a chance to duplicate that feat, the 2011-12 Bulldogs will have to take better care of the basketball. Yale committed 41 turnovers in splitting games with Harvard and Dartmouth last weekend. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs showed great resiliency in rebounding from Friday's loss to Harvard to earn a 62-52 victory over the Big Green on Saturday. Captain Reggie Willhite led the way with a 16-point, nine-rebound, three-assist, two-steal performance. Willhite leads the Ivy League in steals (2.1 per game) and is in the top-10 in five other categories - scoring (t-9th, 12.2 ppg.), field goal percentage (5th, .500), assists (6th, 3.7), blocked shots (8th, 0.8) and assist/turnover ratio (10th, 1.4). Austin Morgan continues to lead the league in free throw percentage (.909) but has fallen to sixth nationally.  

LEAGUE LEADERS

The Bulldogs lead the Ivy League in scoring offense (72.4 ppg.) and rebounding margin (+6.6). Yale is second in blocks (81) and assists (14.3), tied for second in three-point field goal percentage (.369), third in field goal percentage (.448) and fourth in free throw percentage (.700).

LOOKING AHEAD

•  Four of the Ivy League's top five scorers will be in Lee Amphitheater this weekend. Penn's Zack Rosen (18.8 ppg.) is the league leader, followed by Yale's Greg Mangano (18.7 ppg.) and Princeton's Ian Hummer (17.5 ppg.). Penn's Tyler Bernardini (15.6 ppg.) is tied for fourth.

•  Mangano has 634 career rebounds entering the weekend. He needs five to pass Dean Campbell '91 to move into 10th place all-time at Yale.

•  Austin Morgan is three three-pointers shy of cracking Yale's career top-10 list. He has made 121 treys.

LOOKING BACK

•  Greg Mangano reached another career milestone in Friday's game with Harvard. Mangano, who already holds the school record for blocked shots, scored the 1,000th point of his career on a three-pointer with 12:40 left in the first half. He became the 24th player in school history to reach the mark and the first since Alex Zampier in 2010

•  Friday's capacity crowd of 2,532 was the first sellout in Lee Amphitheater since the 2008-09 season opener against Stanford

•  Yale has now won six straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings with Dartmouth.

•  The Yale coaching staff wore sneakers for both games as part of Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Weekend, which supports the American Cancer Society and its vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

SCOUTING PENN

The Quakers (11-9, 3-0 Ivy) have won four straight games, including an 82-67 victory over Princeton on Monday night. Zack Rosen (18.8 ppg.), Tyler Bernardini (15.6 ppg.) and Miles Cartwright (10.7 ppg.) account for nearly 65 percent of Penn's scoring. Rosen, a two-time first team All-Ivy selection, is Penn's all-time assist leader.

SCOUTING PRINCETON

Princeton (10-9, 1-2 Ivy) has won nine of its last 13 games after starting the season 1-5. One of those losses, though, came at Penn, 82-67, on Monday night. The Tigers play at Brown on Friday. Ian Hummer leads the team in scoring (17.5 ppg.) and rebounding (7.5 rpg.).

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale and Penn are playing for the 215th time, and the Quakers hold a 145-69 lead in the all-time series.

Yale and Princeton have met at least once every year since 1902, which ties the series with Yale-Columbia as the oldest continuous series in Division I. The Tigers lead the series 143-80.

The Bulldogs have swept the Princeton-Penn home weekend three times during James Jones' tenure as head coach at Yale.

MANGANO PLAYS FOR TEAM USA AT WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES

Greg Mangano was a part of the 12-player roster that represented the United States in the 2011 World University Games in August in Shenzhen, China. In six games during the tournament, Mangano averaged 3.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. His five blocks were second on the team, and he also contributed four steals. His top performance came against Mexico when he scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. He added seven points, three rebounds and two blocks in the win over Finland. The team was coached by Purdue's Matt Painter. Joining Mangano on the Team USA roster were: Tim Abromaitis (Notre Dame); Marcus Denmon (Missouri); Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh); Draymond Green (Michigan State); JaMychal Green (Alabama); Scoop Jardine (Syracuse); John Jenkins (Vanderbilt); Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara); Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota); Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy); and Darius Miller (Kentucky).

KREISBERG COMPETES AT U20 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Jeremiah Kreisberg played for Israel at the Under-20 European Championships in July in in Sarajevo, Bosnia. He appeared in six games (he missed the last two games with a minor injury) and averaged 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds, while averaging nearly 30 minutes per game. He led the team in rebounding and was second in scoring. Kreisberg headed to Tel-Aviv in June, spent three weeks training with the Israel team and took part in the team's preparation tour through Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

CHINA TRIP

Yale got a bit of a head start on the 2011-12 season. The Bulldogs spent 10 days in China last May and played four games, winning three, including a victory over a Chinese professional team. The trip allowed the Bulldogs to bond as a team and work on some things for the upcoming season.

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION

Mangano and Kreisberg weren't the only players to have interesting off seasons. Austin Morgan spent two months in Mauritius, an island nation off southeast coast of Africa, as an Eli-Africa fellow. He helped run an after school program for local children, teaching a class on health and fitness. Sam Martin was in Washington, D.C., interning for Senator Jack Reed of his home state of Rhode Island. Freshman Armani Cotton founded DOSA (Division One Student Athlete) Basketball Clinic. After gaining approval from the NCAA and the Ivy League, Cotton ran two week-long clinics in New York City and three in Lake Naomi, Pa. Cotton created the program in an attempt to deflate the idea that being valedictorian and a star athlete are mutually exclusive. DOSA focuses on the values of hard work and discipline as well as basketball IQ and Division I skills in order to challenge campers intellectually and physically.

WILLHITE TRAINS WITH LAETTNER, HILL

Reggie Willhite trained with former Duke stars Christian Laettner and Grant Hill earlier this fall. Willhite's father heard an interview with Laettner on the radio. Laettner mentioned he was looking for some Division I players on the East Coast to train. Willhite's father reached out to Laettner, who agreed to train Willhite. Reggie spent two weekends working out with Laettner and Hill. Hill's father is legendary Yale football player Calvin Hill.

YALE PICKED SECOND IVY LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL

Yale was picked second, along with Princeton, by the select panel of 17 Ivy media representatives who voted in the official Ivy League preseason media poll. The Bulldogs received one first-place vote and 103 points. Harvard is the league favorite with 16 first-place votes and 135 points. Princeton also had 103 points followed by Penn (90), Brown (62), Cornell (52), Columbia (50) and Dartmouth (17).

LEE AMPHITHEATER FEATURED IN ESPN THE MAGAZINE

The John J. Lee Amphitheater, the home of Yale Basketball, was featured in ESPN The Magazine's College Basketball preview issue. The title of the feature is Grand Stands, the game marches on, but a dwindling number of college basketball cathedrals can still take us back to when it all began.

The Palestra in Philadelphia, Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse and Fordham's Rose Hill Gymnasium were the only other venues selected.

 "To walk through these gates and settle into these seats is to remember the game's roots," wrote LaRue Cook. "Because sometimes sports aren't about results – they're about beauty and style and being connected to something bigger than the game."

Lee Amphitheater sits inside historic Payne Whitney Gym, which was constructed in 1931 under the direction of John Russell Pope. Yale's first basketball game was played there on Dec. 18, 1932, and it has been the home of the Bulldogs ever since.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity