Game Day Central: Bulldogs Host Brown On Youth Day

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Michael Grace (

Yale Seeks First Ivy Win

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. The Bulldogs don't have to wait long to try to avenge last Saturday's 65-51 loss at Brown. The Bears visit the John J. Lee Amphitheater this Saturday. Tip off on Youth Day is slated for 2 p.m.

Yale (6-12, 0-1 Ivy) struggled offensively in the first meeting, but a return home may help in that area. In their five games this season in the friendly confines of Lee Amphitheater, the Bulldogs have shot 51.6 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from three-point range. Yale did the job on the glass last Saturday, outrebounding Brown 40-34. Fourteen of those rebounds came on the offensive end, and the Bulldogs now lead the Ivy League in rebounding margin (+3.3) and offensive rebounding (12.9 per game).

Yale continues to feature a balanced attack. In each of the last five games, a different player has led the team in scoring, and 10 players on the roster have led the team in at least one game this season. Yale has 12 players averaging at least 11.8 minutes per game. Austin Morgan, the only player to start all 18 games, leads the team in scoring (11.2 ppg.), three-pointers (37) and free throw percentage (.887). Justin Sears (6.3 rpg.) is the team's top reboundier. His 58 offensive rebounds are tied for the most in the league. The Bulldogs are looking to avoid their first 0-2 Ivy start since 2004-05. Yale plays its next four games on the road, starting next Friday at Harvard. The Bulldogs are next at home on Feb. 15 against Cornell.


All children 12-and-under receive free admission, and there will be a post-game autograph session with the Yale players. In addition, there will be a poster making station set up. 


James Jones, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball at Yale, will be one of more than 4,000 college and high school basketball coaches across the United States making an unusual fashion statement when he wears sneakers with his game attire to support the Coaches vs. Cancer® program during the 10th annual Suits & Sneakers weekend. By wearing sneakers, participating coaches help raise awareness about cancer and the importance that nutrition and physical activity play in reducing one's risk of the disease.


•  Greg Kelley has scored in double figures in each of the last two games. Last Saturday against Brown, he scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench. Seven of his points came during Yale's 14-0 run in the second half.

•  Armani Cotton is averaging 11.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in his last four games. He grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds last Saturday against the Bears.

•  Sam Martin is shooting a career-best 40 percent from three-point range this season.

•  Yale's bench has outscored it opponent's reserves in five of the last six games. The Bulldogs had a 23-15 advantage in bench points last week.


The Bulldogs have won two straight and four of the last five games with Brown in New Haven. The last six meetings between the teams at Lee Amphitheater have been decided by nine points or less. Yale leads the all-time series 99-51. Brown will be looking to sweep the season series for the first time since 2005.


A poor offensive performance doomed Yale in its Ivy League opener. The Bulldogs shot just 32.8 percent from the field and were 4-of-22 from three-point range in falling to Brown at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Greg Kelley led the Bulldogs with 11 points but was the only player in double figures. Austin Morgan and Michael Grace each finished with eight, and Jeremiah Kreisberg scored six. Armani Cotton grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. Sean McGonagill paced Brown with 20 points. He was 8-of-15 from the field and added four assists in 38 minutes. Matt Sullivan added 13 points and Stephen Albrecht scored 11 for the Bears, who have won three straight. It looked like Brown was going to cruise to an easy victory early in the second half. A McGonagill three-pointer gave the Bears a 49-28 lead with 14:35 left. The Bulldogs then scored the next 14 points to get right back in it. McGonagill, though, stopped the run with a big three-pointer. Yale cut it to eight on Javier Duren's layup, but the Bears answered with an 8-0 run to regain control. The Bulldogs made four of their first six shots to start the game and led 9-6 but then went cold. Brown took advantage, using a 10-1 run to go ahead 17-10 midway through the first half. Yale pulled back within three, but the Bears stretched the lead back to nine, 33-24, at halftime. The Bulldogs were 8-of-27 from the field in the first half, including 1-of-10 from three point range.


The Bears (7-8, 1-0 Ivy) lead the Ivy League in field goal percentage defense (.414). Brown has won three straight, including last Saturday's win over Yale.  Brown features the top two rebounders in the Ivy League - Rafael Maia (8.1 rpg.) and Cedric Kuakumensah (7.9 rpg.). The Bears also have two of the top four scorers - Sean McGonagill (14.9 ppg.) and Matthew Sullivan (14.9 ppg.). McGonagill was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on Monday. He scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field in last Saturday's win. Mike Martin, a 2004 Brown graduate, is in his first season at the helm of the Bears. Martin was a four-year starter and part of the winningest class in Brown basketball history, posting a 63-45 four-year record from 2000-2004.


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.



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


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.

•  Yale faced a very challenging three-game road trip right after Christmas. The Bulldogs travelled to Nevada, Saint Mary's and Iowa State. The trip to Nevada was 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 was a homecoming for Ames, Iowa, native Jesse Pritchard.

•  The biggest test of the season, though, came in Lee Amphitheater when preseason No. 10 Florida visited 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 was one of two in the Amphitheater that will be nationally televised. The NBC Sports Network was in town for the game with the Gators, while CBS Sports Television will show the home game with Harvard on Feb. 23.

•  Yale kicked 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