Jan. 16, 2009
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - After seven minutes of its Ivy opener at Brown on Friday night, it appeared the Yale men's basketball team was in for a long night. The Bulldogs trailed 17-6 and were struggling. Then, all of a sudden, Yale turned up the defensive intensity. The Bulldogs held the Bears to just 12 points in the rest of the first half and outscored them 43-33 in the final 20 minutes en route to a 70-62 victory before a crowd of 1,169 at the Pizzitola Center.
"I thought we did an unbelievable job of guarding them hard," said James Jones, the Joel E, Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.
Alex Zampier scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the second half to spark the comeback. Ross Morin added 13 points, Travis Pinick contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Garrett Fiddler had seven points and six rebounds.
Yale, which won its Ivy opener for the fourth straight year, shot 60.9 percent (14 of 23) from the field in the second half, while holding the Bears to just 37.5 percent.
Still, the score was tied at 51-51 with 5:16 remaining. That's when Zampier took over. He scored four straight points, and after Adrian Williams made three free throws to pull Brown back within one, Zampier hit a huge three-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give the Bulldogs a 58-54 lead with 3:28 left.
"Alex has the potential to be a great player," Jones said. "He made some plays when we really needed them."
Yale (6-9, 1-0 Ivy) hit eight of nine free throws in the final 1:32 to seal the win,
The Bulldogs finished 16 of 19 from the foul line in the game.
Yale's depth was a big factor. The Bulldogs' bench outscored Brown's 11-0. Jordan Gibson scored four points, Porter Braswell had three, while Paul Nelson and Michael Sands added two apiece. All four also contributed to the defensive effort.
Matt Mullery paced the Bears with 23 points. Williams and Peter Sullivan both scored 14.
Brown (6-9, 0-1 Ivy) made seven of its first 11 shots from the field in building the early 11-point lead but then was only 14 of 43 over the next 33 minutes.
"We really tried to take away what their guards do," said Zampier, who made seven of 11 shots from the field and all four of his free throws.
A 9-1 run midway through the first half pulled the Bulldogs within three, 18-15. Brown pushed the lead back to six, but Yale closed to within 29-27 at the intermission.
The second half featured five ties and nine lead changes. The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game, 34-31, on a Morin three-pointer. Brown's biggest lead of the second half was five, 45-40 with 12:38 left.
Yale has now won four straight games.
"We're starting to click," said Chris Andrews, who finished with nine points and was 4-for-4 from the foul line, all in the final minutes. "We gained a lot of confidence in the last three games. I'm happy with the direction we are going."
Yale and Brown meet again next Friday at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.