Game Day Central: New Year’s Day Matinee With Iowa State On Tap

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Jesse Pritchard. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Ames, Iowa, Native Pritchard Returning Home

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs' three-game post holiday road trip wraps up at Iowa State on New Year's Day. Tip off at Hilton Coliseum is slated for 1 p.m. EST.

Yale (409) stayed with defending West Coast Conference champion Saint Mary's for much of Sunday's game before falling 78-62. In the first two games of the trip, the Bulldogs have grabbed 41 offensive rebounds, including 22 against Saint Mary's. Yale, though, wasn't able to capitalize against the Gaels, as the work on the glass led to only 10 second -chance points.

The game with Iowa State is a homecoming for junior Jesse Pritchard, an Ames, Iowa, native whose home is a five-minute bike ride from Hilton Coliseum. Pritchard, though, suffered an injury prior to the Albertus Magnus game and is unlikely to play. Pritchard was a fan of Iowa State growing up and used to attend about five games a year. His family has plenty of ties to Iowa State. Both his mother and father are graduates of the school, and his father used to teach there. Pritchard earned all-conference recognition in each of his four year at Ames Senior High School. He helped lead Ames to the 2009 state championship and four conference titles. Pritchard appeared in the first 10 games this season for the Bulldogs and is averaging 2.5 points and 2.0 rebounds. Last year, he had career highs in games (28), starts (7), points (63), rebounds (56) and three-pointers (12) and was the recipient of the Josh Hill Award, presented for hard work and dedication to the Yale Basketball program.

WHO'S HOT

•    It's been a memorable trip so far for Austin Morgan. First he scored 20 points in his hometown of Reno., Nev., against the University of Nevada last Friday. Morgan had nearly 70 family and friends in attendance and received a very nice ovation from the crowd of more than 7,000 when he was introduced during the player introductions. Two days later, he became the 25th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Perhaps fittingly, Morgan reached the milestone on a three-pointer in the second half. He now has 170 career treys, which is fourth all-time at Yale. Morgan (12.8 ppg.) leads the Bulldogs in scoring.

•    Greg Kelley scored a career-high 14 points against Saint Mary's. He was 4-of-5 from three-point range in the game.

•    Javier Duren also had a personal best against the Gaels, scoring 10 points. Duren flirted with a double-double in the win over Albertus Magnus on Dec. 18, scoring eight points and grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds.

•    Yale was 11-of-24 from three-point range against Saint Mary's.

HISTORY LESSONS

   Yale and Iowa State are playing for the first time.

SCOUTING IOWA STATE

   The Cyclones (9-3) haven't played since a 76-61 victory over UMKC on Dec. 19. Iowa State has won three straight and five of its last six. The Cyclones' three losses have come to Cincinnati, UNLV and Iowa. Iowa State features a balanced attack. Seven players average at least 8.3 points. Will Clyburn (13.8 ppg.) leads the team in scoring. Iowa State is one of the nation's best scoring teams, ranking sixth nationally in points per game at 82.2. Iowa State is one of only two teams in the nation to score 70 points or more in every game this season (UNC-Greensboro). The Cyclones have won 14-straight games at home, tying for the 13th-best active home court winning streak in the nation. 

YALE PICKED SIXTH IN PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

   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.

2012-13 IVY LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

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 

PRESEASON HONORS

   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.).

MEET THE NEWCOMERS

   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.

2012-13 SCHEDULE NOTES

•    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.

•    Yale faces a very challenging 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, Jeremiah Kreisberg hails from Berkeley, Calif., a short distance from the Saint. Mary's campus 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.

 WILLHITE DRAFTED IN 5TH ROUND OF NBA D-LEAGUE DRAFT

  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