January 28, 2009

Four-Game Ivy Road Trip Starts In New York

Jan. 28, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The first full weekend of Ivy League play takes the Bulldogs (7-9, 2-0 Ivy) to New York state. Yale plays at Columbia on Friday at 7 p.m. (Pay-per-view Video, Live Stats, WYBC audio) and then makes the long journey to Ithaca for a game against defending champion Cornell on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Pay-per-view Video, Live Stats, WYBC audio).

The Bulldogs opened the league season with a pair of victories over Brown, including a narrow 57-55 win last Friday in New Haven. Yale is trying to win its first three Ivy games for the first time since 1999-2000, James Jones' first year as head coach. The Bulldogs are also looking for their first six-game winning streak since the 2001-02 team won seven consecutive games. In the last five games, Yale has outscored its opponents by 14 points per game (72.8 to 58.8) and outrebounded them by seven per game (36.6 to 29.6), while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and holding opponents to 40.0 percent. In addition, the Bulldogs have averaged only 12.6 turnovers per game, compared to 18.5 per game in their first 11 games. Alex Zampier leads the team in scoring (14.3 ppg.). Ross Morin, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds in last Friday's win over Brown, is the only other player averaging double figures at 14.1 ppg. Travis Pinick is the Bulldogs' leading rebounder at 6.4 rpg.

HISTORY LESSONS
Friday is the 215th meeting between Yale and Columbia, and the Lions have a 121-93 lead in the series. Columbia won both games last year, including a 68-62 victory in New York. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs are 5-2 in their last seven games at Levien Gym. James Jones is 12-6 at Yale against Columbia and 6-4 against his younger brother Joe, who is in his sixth year as the head coach of the Lions.

The Big Red holds a 104-100 advantage all-time against Yale, including a pair of victories last year. The Bulldogs have dropped their last four games at Newman Arena, but three of the four were decided by five points or less, including an 87-82 double overtime Cornell victory in 2004-05. Jones is 10-8 against the Big Red.

SCOUTING COLUMBIA
The Lions (5-11, 0-2 Ivy) feature one of the top newcomers in the Ivy League in Noruwa Agho, who was named the league's Rookie of the Week for the second time this season on Monday. Agho scored a career-high 24 points in last Saturday's 83-72 loss at Cornell. Patrick Foley, who missed some time with an injury earlier in the season, leads the team in scoring (12.1 ppg.), while Jason Miller is Columbia's top rebounder (6.7 rpg.). The Lions' defense has held opponents to 70 or fewer points in 11 of 16 games this season. Columbia is third in the league in scoring defense (65.9 ppg.).

SCOUTING CORNELL
The Big Red (12-6, 2-0 Ivy) will take a 17-game Ivy League winning streak and a school-record 15-game home winning streak into Friday's game with Brown at Newman Arena. Cornell has won its last seven games overall, outscoring opponents by 20.6 points per game during the streak. A trio of All-Ivy players, juniors Ryan Wittman (19.6 ppg., 4.0 rpg.) and Louis Dale (14.4 ppg., 3.7 apg., 3.4 rpg.) and senior Jeff Foote (12.2 ppg., 6.9 rpg., 2.5 apg., 2.4 bpg.) lead the Big Red, the defending Ivy champions.

YALE PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL
Yale was picked to finish third in the Ivy League preseason media poll, released during a media teleconference on Oct. 21. Defending champion Cornell was the unanimous first-place selection. The Big Red return four starters and four All-Ivy picks from a team that went undefeated in league play last year. Penn was picked second. Harvard was fourth followed by Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth and Princeton.

2008-09 Ivy League Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll
1. Cornell - 128 points (16 first-place votes)
2. Penn - 110
3. Yale - 80
4. Harvard - 77
5. Brown - 75
6. Columbia - 45
7. Dartmouth - 33
8. Princeton - 28

YALE ON YES
Two Yale men's basketball games will be televised live on the YES Network as part of the Yale on YES package. Both games will be broadcast from the John J. Lee Amphitheater and begin at 7 p.m., starting with the game against Princeton on Fri., Feb. 13. The Yale-Columbia game on Sat., Feb. 21 will also be televised. In addition, YES will show the Yale women's game against Harvard on Fri., Feb. 6.

NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE NOTES
• The Bulldogs travelled nearly 10,000 miles (9,962) for their 10 non-conference road games.
• Yale went 3-1 at home in non-conference play. The only loss came to Stanford, 75-67, in the season opener before a sellout crowd of 2,532 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. The game featured seven ties and 13 lead changes.
• The Bulldogs picked up their first win ever over a Pac-10 school when they edged Oregon State 53-52 on Nov. 24. Yale had dropped its previous 15 games against the conference. In James Jones' tenure as head coach, Yale has now knocked off schools from the Big East (Rutgers), Big Ten (Penn State), ACC (Clemson) and Pac-10 (Oregon State).
• Yale nearly pulled off another upset before falling 66-63 at Alabama on Dec. 28. The Bulldogs were within one point twice in the final minute, but the Crimson Tide made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Alex Zampier scored 28 points, the most by a Bulldog this season, in a 76-66 win over Holy Cross. It was the first time a Yale player scored at least 25 points in a game since Eric Flato had 26 against Columbia in 2007.

BUTCH GRAVES '84 RECEIVES NCAA HONOR
Former Yale men's basketball star Earl "Butch" Graves '84 was one of six recipients of the 2009 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, presented annually since 1973 to former student-athletes whose collegiate careers ended 25 years ago and who have gone on to excel in their chosen professions. Graves received his award at the NCAA Honors and Delegates Celebration on January 15, 2009, during the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. Graves, the captain of the 1983-84 Bulldogs, is Yale's all-time leading scorer with 2,090 career points and is one of only four players in Ivy League history to score at least 2,000 points. He was named first team All-Ivy in both 1983 and 1984 and led the league in scoring in Ivy games three times (1982-84). Graves, who received a bachelor's degree in economics from Yale, is the president & CEO of Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., publisher of Black Enterprise magazine. He is responsible for the strategic positioning and overall profitability of the corporation.

FREE VIDEO STREAMS ON YALEBULLDOGS.COM
Free live video is available for all Yale home games that aren't televised. Fans can access the games at yalebulldogs.com by clicking on the Yale All*Access logo in the top right corner. An e-mail address and password are required to subscribe to the service. WYBC (1340 AM) provides audio.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Former NBA star Chris Dudley, a 1987 Yale graduate, hosted the team for dinner during the trip to Oregon. Dudley, who lives just outside of Portland, played 16 seasons in the NBA and scored 3,473 points and collected 5,457 rebounds. He was a three-time first team All-Ivy selection at Yale. He spoke to the team in the locker room following the victory over Oregon State... James Jones, who is in his 10th year at Yale, is the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League. His younger brother Joe is the head coach at Columbia. The Jones brothers are one of only two active brother duos coaching at the Division I level. Seth and Brad Greenberg are the head coaches at Virginia Tech and Radford.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity