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Bulldogs Complete Weekend Sweep; Hold Off Princeton 58-54

(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)
(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale Improves To 5-1 In Ivy Play

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Despite playing very well for the first 30 minutes, Yale found itself in a dogfight late in Saturday's game with Princeton. For the second straight night, though, the Bulldogs were solid down the stretch, and the result was an impressive 58-54 victory over the Tigers before an Alumni Day crowd of 2,175 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

The win completed an important weekend sweep for Yale, which scored the game's final 10 points on Friday to knock off Penn 60-53.

"Our guys did a really good job of staying focused," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "We did all that was necessary to win the game."

It started on the defensive end. The Bulldogs held Princeton to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field, one night after limiting Penn to 38.6 percent.

"The anchor for us all weekend was defense," Jones said. "We were able to get stops."

Greg Mangano and Reggie Willhite supplied much of the offense in Saturday's victory. Both players finished with 20 points. In addition, Mangano grabbed 12 rebounds, and Willhite added nine rebounds and three assists.

The sweep was Yale's first over Penn and Princeton since the 2006-07 season.

"It feels amazing," Willhite said. "We knew how important it was to get a sweep. Penn and Princeton are always difficult games, but we played a gritty game and were able to get it done down the stretch."

The victory improved the Bulldogs to 5-1 in Ivy play. They trail first-place Harvard (6-0) by one game.

Five of Yale's six league games have come in the friendly confines of Lee Amphitheater, but the next four will be away from home.

"You've got to protect your home court," Jones said. "It's always a little more difficult on the road, but hopefully this will give us some confidence."

Early in the second half, it looked like the Bulldogs might cruise to victory over the Tigers. Willhite's layup put Yale ahead by 13 just two minutes in. The lead stayed at or near double digits until Princeton used an 11-4 run to cut the deficit to 48-44 with 6:37 remaining.

The Tigers (11-10, 2-3 Ivy) pulled within two, 53-51, on Mack Darrow's layup, but Jeremiah Kreisberg answered with two free throws with 29 seconds left. After a Mangano free throw, Princeton got back within three on another Darrow layup, but Austin Morgan made one of two free throws with five seconds left to seal the victory.

"Our offense got stagnant and I thought we took some ill-advised shots," Jones said of letting Princeton back in the game.

Kreisberg finished with nine points, while Morgan scored five for the Bulldogs, who have won three straight games. Jesse Pritchard contributed seven rebounds off the bench.

Ian Hummer led Princeton with 18 points, including the 1,000th of his career.

Yale had a 45-34 edge in rebounding, but shot just 35.1 percent from the field in the game.

NOTES: Both teams struggled mightily from three-point range. Princeton was just 4-of-21 from beyond the arc, while the Bulldogs were 3-of-20… After averaging 19.3 turnovers in its previous three games, Yale committed just 10… There was a large contingent of alumni on hand, including several from the 2001-02 team that earned a share of the Ivy League title… The Bulldogs will play at Cornell on Friday and then travel to Columbia on Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity