January 10, 2009

Bulldogs Win Third Straight; Top Hartford 71-63

Jan. 10, 2009

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The start of Ivy League play is less than a week away, and it appears the Yale men's basketball team is ready. Ross Morin scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Travis Pinick added 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals to lead the Bulldogs to a 71-63 victory over Hartford at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Yale, which plays at Brown in the Ivy opener next Friday, has won three straight games.

"We're really confident," said Pinick. "We've played a lot of close games and have been fortunate enough to win the last three. There is no better time to be peaking."

The Bulldogs (5-9) trailed 38-29 at halftime but shot 60 percent (15 of 25) from the field in the second half, while holding the Hawks to just 31.8 percent (7 of 22). Yale outscored Hartford 42-25.

"In the first half we did a poor job of taking care of the basketball," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "At halftime we talked about what we wanted to accomplish of offense."

Pinick's play was the spark. He scored 13 of his points and grabbed seven rebounds in the final 20 minutes.

"I was just trying to be aggressive," Pinick said. "The seams were open, and things worked out."

"Travis is a tremendous athlete," Jones said. "He has the ability to do so many things. He can rebound, find open guys and score."

Yale (5-9) began the second half with 10-1 run over the first five minutes to tie the score at 39. The Hawks built the lead back to five, 53-48, midway through the period, but the Bulldogs answered with a 10-5 run to tie the score at 58-58 with 6:34 left.

Two Pinick free throws gave Yale the lead for good with 5:52 left, and a Morin layup with 3:12 remaining increased the lead to five, 64-59. The Hawks got back within three on two Jaret von Rosenberg free throws with 1:20 remaining, but Morin answered with a layup, and Alex Zampier made two free throws with 29 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

The Hawks played a tenacious matchup zone, but Yale was able to get the ball inside in the second half, while committing only three turnovers. Morin, who made 7 of 10 shots from the field, scored 11 of his points after halftime.

"We haven't seen a lot of matchup zone, but we were able to break it down and get it into the big guys," Pinick said. "If you can do that, you can be successful."

Zampier finished with 14 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs. Michael Sands added six points, while Greg Mangano and Chris Andrews, who made his first career start, contributed five points apiece.

Yale's bench outscored Hartford's 18-9.

Von Rosenberg played all 40 minutes and paced Hartford with 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Andres Torres added 14 points.

The Bulldogs led by two, 19-17, midway through the first half, but the Hawks used a 13-3 run, capped by a Michael Turner jumper, to go ahead by eight. Kevin Estes's basket with five seconds left gave Hartford a 38-29 lead at the intermission.

Yale shot just 42 percent in the first half and committed 11 turnovers, which led to 15 Hartford points.

"We did a good job of winning the basketball game in the second half," Jones said. "We haven't always been able to do that this season. Hopefully this will give us some confidence."

The Bulldogs play at Brown next Friday at 7 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity