Game Day Central: One More Test Before Holiday Break

Jeremiah Kreisberg. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jeremiah Kreisberg. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Host Albertus Magnus Tuesday

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After a 10-day break for exams, the Bulldogs return to the court on Tuesday night when Albertus Magnus visits for the only home game in the month of December. Tipoff at the John J. Lee Amphitheater is slated for 7 p.m. Fans that bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Yale-New Haven Hospital Toy Closet Program will receive one free general admission ticket and a Yale Basketball t-shirt.

Yale (3-7) hasn't played since a 64-56 loss at New Hampshire on Dec. 8 and following this game will be back on the road for a very challenging three-game trip after a short break for the holiday. The Bulldogs are at Nevada on Dec. 28, a homecoming for Reno, Nev., native Austin Morgan, at St. Mary's on Dec. 30, and at Iowa State on Jan. 1, which will be a homecoming for Ames, Iowa, native Jesse Pritchard. Also looming on the horizon is a home game with fifth-ranked Florida on Jan. 6. Morgan (12.0 ppg.) leads the team in scoring. He is fourth in school history with 159 career three-pointers and needs only 44 points to reach 1,000 in his career. Freshman Justin Sears (6.5 rpg.) leads the team in rebounding and is seventh in the Ivy League. His 36 offensive rebounds are tied for the most in the league. As a team, Yale is averaging 11.4 offensive rebounds per game, which is second in the league. Four of the Bulldogs' 10 games have been decided by four points or less, including two in overtime. Yale is 3-1 in those games.


•  Jeremiah Kreisberg is coming off a pair of strong games. He scored 14 points against both Bryant and New Hampshire. Against Bryant he was 6-of-8 from the field, and against UNH, he added eight rebounds. Kreisberg started all 29 games last year but had off-season back surgery which has limited him early in the season.

•  Armani Cotton scored seven points, grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and added four steals against New Hampshire.

•  Austin Morgan is shooting .900 (36-of-40) from the free throw line, which is third in the Ivy League. Morgan finished fifth in the nation in free throw percentage (.900) last year, setting a single-season school record.

•  Yale's bench is averaging 25.5 points per game in the last two games.


Yale and Albertus Magnus are playing for the second time. The Bulldogs knocked off the Falcons 92-71 during the 2009-10 season. Yale's three seniors all contributed to the victory. Michael Grace scored 11 points and handed out six assists. Austin Morgan added 17 points and Sam Martin contributed four points.


The Falcons (7-0) are ranked 21st in this week's Top-25 Poll. Albertus last played on Dec. 8, a 78-61 victory at Norwich. Jefferson Lora scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Falcons. Darius Watson, who scored his 1,000th career point in the win over Mount Ida, was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player of the Week on Dec. 10. Watson (24.9 ppg.) leads the team in scoring. Mitch Oliver is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Falcons. Oliver and his squad are coming off of their most successful season in program history as the Falcons finished the year with a 28-2 overall record, a program-record in single-season victories. The Falcons finished the regular season with a 24-1 overall mark.


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. . Defending champion Harvard was picked second followed by Columbia, Cornell and Penn. Brown and Dartmouth round out the poll.



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 didn't play their first home game until Saturday, Nov. 24 against Army. That was the first of 12 games in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

•  Yale played in the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The first game was at Saint Joseph, the Atlantic 10 preseason favorite. The Bulldogs then headed 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 met 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 Brown. 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 third 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 and Travis Pinick '09 was taken in the eighth round of the 2009 draft by the Los Angeles D-Fenders Willhite enjoyed an outstanding career for the Bulldogs. 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, Pinick and Neil Yanke (tryout with Los Angeles Lakers) both had opportunities in the United States.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity