Defense, Free Throw Shooting Lift Yale Past Elon 69-65
Porter Braswell Makes Four Foul Shots In Final 13 Seconds To Snap Tie
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Yale didn't have the lead for very long in the second half of Tuesday's game with Elon, but it came at the most opportune time. Porter Braswell made four free throws and had a key steal in the final 13 seconds to lift the Bulldogs to a hard-fought 69-65 victory over the Phoenix in the final game of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-off at Hofstra's Mack Sports Complex.
"This was a very gritty win," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "A lot of guys stepped up and contributed."
The Bulldogs trailed by seven, 61-54, with 5:09 left but rallied. Alex Zampier's three-pointer tied the score at 63 with 1:04 left. Elon's Chris Long then made two free throws with 31 seconds remaining, but Michael Sands answered with a dunk off a nifty feed from Zampier to tie the score at 65.
"All game long Al was seeing double teams," Jones said. "We talked to him about getting rid of the ball. Mike slipped to the basket and got an easy dunk."
Braswell then stole the ball from Josh Bonney and was fouled. He calmly made both free throws to give Yale its first lead of the half, 67-65.
"They felt good out of my hands," said Braswell, who has now made 13-of-15 free throws on the season. "I knew if I hit the two free throws we would need only one stop to win the game.
Yale got it, forcing the Phoenix into another turnover. Braswell then went back to the line and made two more with two seconds left to seal the victory.
Zampier paced Yale (2-4) with 17 points. Sands added 15 points, and Jordan Gibson scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Braswell finished with 10 points and Josh Davis had six points and five rebounds.
The Bulldogs made 17-of-19 free throws and are now shooting 82.4 percent for the season.
Yale also forced 15 Elon turnovers in the second half.
"We did a great job of executing our defense," Jones said.
Adam Constantine led the Phoenix (2-4) with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Yale led 10-5 after six minutes, but Elon used an 11-2 run to take the lead. The Phoenix led 33-28 at halftime and built the advantage to nine early in the second half before the Bulldogs started their comeback.
Yale finished 2-2 in its four games in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
"Getting two wins is quite an accomplishment," Braswell said. "As a kid, I always remember watching the preseason NIT, and to get a chance to play in it is a thrill."
The Bulldogs are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Army. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity