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Ivy Title Hopes Dashed With 64-57 Loss At Princeton

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

Tigers Pull Away Late To Escape With Win

PRINCETON, N.J. – Yale has made a habit of coming from behind all season. So when the Bulldogs rallied from an early 15-point deficit to tie Princeton at 40 with 12 minutes left, there was every reason to believe Yale was going to walk out of Jadwin Gym with another win. Instead, it was the Tigers that made the plays down the stretch, and the result was a 64-57 Princeton victory before a crowd of 2,293.

The loss, coupled with Harvard's 77-70 overtime win over Columbia, eliminated Yale from the Ivy League title race.

Nevertheless, the Bulldogs (19-8, 9-4 Ivy) still have much to play for in the regular season finale at Penn on Saturday. It would seem Yale has already done enough to earn some kind of postseason appearance, but the Bulldogs still have a chance to finish second, which would only add to their resume, especially for an NIT bid.

Harvard's win also eliminated Princeton (17-11, 8-4 Ivy).

After Yale tied it at 40, the Tigers scored the next nine points. The Bulldogs, though, had one more comeback left. Reggie Willhite's jumper cut the deficit to one, 54-53, with 2:21 remaining.

Jimmy Sherburne answered with a layup, and Denton Koon hit a jumper to put Princeton back up by five.

The Bulldogs got within three twice, but Mack Darrow and Douglas Davis each made a pair of free throws in the final 39 seconds to seal the victory.

"We had a lot of opportunities down the stretch, but we couldn't capitalize," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.

Willhite and Greg Mangano both posted double-doubles for the Bulldogs. Willhite had 10 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, five assists and four steals. The four steals give him 63 for the season, a new school record.

Mangano, despite facing a constant double teams, finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

"Princeton did a good job of being physical down low," said Mangano, who was 6-of-19 from the field.

Ian Hummer paced Princeton with 18 points, while T.J. Bray added 10.

Early on, it looked like the Tigers might cruise to an easy win. Yale scored the first game's first four points, but Princeton went on a 23-4 run to take its biggest lead of the game.

Austin Morgan, though, helped the Bulldogs get back into the game before halftime. He hit three straight three-pointers in one stretch as Yale got as close as 32-28 before the Tigers scored the final five points before the intermission.

Morgan finished with 13 points, while Jeremiah Kreisberg added 10 for Yale.

NOTES: Princeton's bench outscored Yale's 16-4… The Bulldogs had a 35-28 rebounding edge… The Tigers shot 51.7 percent from the field in the first half but just 40 percent in the second half… Princeton had nine blocked shots… Penn's Zack Rosen scored 19 points in the Quakers' 54-43 win over Brown, so he and Mangano continue to share the Ivy League lead in scoring (18.5 ppg.)… Yale and Penn tip off at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity