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Gameday Central: Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic Continues With Three Games In Indiana

Greg Kelley (Ron Waite photo)
Greg Kelley (Ron Waite photo)

Bulldogs Play Three Games In Three Days Starting Friday At Evansville

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs (0-2) head to Indiana for the second stage of the 2012 NABC Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Yale plays at Evansville on Friday at 8:30 p.m. EST followed by games against Buffalo on Saturday at 6 p.m. and then a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. against Western Illinois, which will be played in the Johnson Center in Oakland City, Ind.

The Bulldogs' first two games have been a contrast in styles. In the opener against Sacred Heart in the Connecticut 6 Classic, Yale scored 82 points but suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Sacred Heart. On Monday at Saint Joseph, the Bulldogs managed just 35 points in a 61-35 loss to the Hawks, the preseason favorite in the Atlantic 10. Austin Morgan had a big game in the opener, scoring a career-high 28 points against Sacred Heart. He was 7-of-12 from the field, including 6-of-11 on three-pointers. Freshman Justin Sears made an impressive collegiate debut, scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds. The Bulldogs feature a different look from last year's team that won 19 games and played in the post season tournament. Greg Mangano and Reggie Willhite, who combined to take nearly half of the team's shots, have graduated. Head coach James Jones, though, is confident he has a number of players more than capable of filling the void created by the loss of Mangano and Willhite. Expect a much more balanced attack from the Bulldogs this season. Morgan (11.8 ppg.) is Yale's leading returning scorer. Michael Grace and Sam Martin are the only other seniors on the roster. Junior Jeremiah Kreisberg and sophomores Brandon Sherrod have assumed much of the low-post duties handled by Mangano a year ago. Matt Townsend will also be a post presence but he has missed the first two games with an injury.


The Bulldogs are taking on Evansville for only the second time. The first meeting was a 92-83 Yale victory in 1961.

Yale and Buffalo are playing for the first time since 1931, a 39-24 Bulldog victory that ended Buffalo's 29-game winning streak.

Yale and Western Illinois are playing for the first time.


The Purple Aces opened their season with a 58-49 loss to No. 22 Notre Dame on Saturday in South Bend. Colt Ryan led Evansville with 15 points, the 51st time in his career he has led the team in scoring. Ryan, a preseason all Missouri Valley Conference selection, was named the No. 3 Under-The-Rader Player by The Purple Aces were picked fifth in the MVC preseason poll.


Yale is the second Ivy League opponent for Buffalo, which opened the season with a 57-53 loss to Princeton. The Bulls then dropped a 95-68 decision at Florida State. Junior Javon McCrea has averaged 19.5 points for UB, including a 22-point outing versus the Tigers.  Last season, he averaged 14.7 points while leading the Bulls to a 20-11 mark and the second round of the CIT.


The Leathernecks (18-15 in 2012) picked up a 71-39 win over Wabash in Saturday's opener. Terrell Parks, who averaged 11.9 points last year, led WIU with 15 points and seven rebounds versus Wabash.  Western Illinois went on a four-game win streak late in the year to advance to the Summit League Championship game where they fell to No. 2 seed South Dakota State by a 52-50 final in overtime. They faced Oregon State in the opening round of the CBI.


The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic ( is one of the most prestigious early-season college basketball tournaments. Twelve schools will compete in the event, with four of those teams serving as regional hosts. A nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society ( and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (, the Coaches vs. Cancer program ( empowers basketball coaches, their teams, and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.


The Bulldogs have finished fourth or better in the Ivy League in each of the last 12 years. That didn't earn Yale much respect in the preseason Ivy League media poll, which projected a sixth-place finish for the Bulldogs. Yale, though, has a history of proving the prognosticators wrong. In five of the last seven years, the Bulldogs have finished higher than projected. Princeton is the near unanimous favorite to win the league. The Tigers received 16 of the 17 first-place votes.  



First-Place Votes in Parentheses

Rank       School............................................ Points

1.             Princeton (16)..................................... 134

2.             Harvard (1)......................................... 109

3.             Columbia.............................................. 90

4.             Cornell................................................. 80

5.             Penn.................................................... 74

6.             Yale...................................................... 55

7.             Brown.................................................. 50

8.             Dartmouth........................................... 20


Senior Austin Morgan has earned a couple of preseason honors. He was named first team All-League by the Blue Ribbon College Yearbook and received second team recognition from College Sports Madness and Lindy's. Morgan, a two-year starter, finished fifth in the nation and set a school record with a .900 free throw percentage. Junior Jeremiah Kreisberg was named to the preseason third team by College Sports Madness. Kreisberg has started 47 games in his first two seasons. Last year, he started all 29 games and finished third on the team in rebounding (5.1 rpg.) and fourth in scoring (7.7 ppg.).


The 2012-13 Yale roster features four freshmen. Khaliq Bedart-Ghani (Inglewood, CA), Jack Montague (Brentwood, TN), Justin Sears (Plainfield, NJ) and Nick Victor (Dallas, TX) all bring strong credentials. Bedart-Ghani led Loyola High School in California in rebounding and blocks as a senior last winter. Montague was the district, region and county most valuable player as a senior at Brentwood High School. He averaged 17.0 points and seven assists and scored more than 1,200 career points. Sears earned first team all-state, all-area and all-county honors as a senior at Plainfield High School in New Jersey. He scored 1,048 points and grabbed 1,063 rebounds in his career to become only the second player in school history to score over 1,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds. He helped lead Plainfield to two New Jersey Tournament of Champion title games where it lost to national power St. Anthony's both times. Victor spent one year at the Winchendon School and earned NEPSAC honorable mention recognition. At Lovejoy High School in Dallas, Texas, he was the 2010 District most valuable player.


•  The Bulldogs don't play their first home game until Saturday, Nov. 24 against Army at 2 p.m. That is the first of 12 games in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

•  Yale will be playing in the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The first game will be next Monday at Saint Joseph, the Atlantic 10 preseason favorite. The Bulldogs then head to Evansville, Ind., for three games, against Evansville, Buffalo and Western Illinois.

•  New England rival New Hampshire is on the schedule for the first time since 1998. The Bulldogs meet the Wildcats on Dec. 8 in Durham, N.H.

•  Yale faces a very challeging three-game road trip right after Christmas. The Bulldogs travel to Nevada, Saint Mary's and Iowa State. The trip to Nevada is a homecoming for Reno native Austin Morgan, while the trip to Iowa State is a homecoming for Ames, Iowa, native Jesse Pritchard.

•  The biggest test of the season, though, may come in Lee Amphitheater when preseason No. 10 Florida visits on Jan. 6. The Gators return three starters from a squad that went 26-11 and fell one game shy of the Final Four last year.

•  The Florida game is one of two in the Amphitheater that will be nationally televised. The NBC Sports Network will be in town for the game with the Gators, while CBS Sports Television will show the home game with Harvard on Feb. 23.

•  Yale kicks off Ivy League play on Jan. 19 at Brilown. Five of the first six Ivy games will be on the road.


Reggie Willhite, the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year last year as a senior at Yale, was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NBA Development League Draft on Nov. 2. Willhite was selected by the Reno Bighorns with the fifth pick in the fifth round. He was the 70th player chosen overall. Willhite becomes the second Yale player to be drafted by a D-League team. Alex Zampier '10 was chosen in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by the New Mexico Thunderbirds. Willhite enjoyed an outstanding career for the Bulldogs. His 132 career steals are the seventh most in school history. As a senior, he earned second team All-Ivy recognition, set a single-season school record with 65 steals and was 17th in the nation in steals (2.24 per game). Willhite joins a long list of players that have earned professional opportunities during James Jones' tenure as the head coach at Yale. Ted Smith (England), Matt Minoff (Israel), Paul Vitelli (Italy), Dominick Martin (Spain), Matt Kyle (Portugal), Caleb Holmes (Iceland), Ross Morin (Switzerland), Eric Flato (England), Greg Mangano (Turkey) and Edwin Draughan (France) have all played overseas. Zampier and Neil Yanke (tryout with Los Angeles Lakers) both had opportunities in the United States.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity