Bulldogs Visit Army On Saturday

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

Yale Seeks Second Straight Victory

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs (2-4) may get an early idea of where they stand in the Ivy League when they travel to Army on Saturday afternoon. The Black Knights are coming off victories over Princeton and Harvard. Tipoff at Christl Arena is slated for 4 p.m. Yale has already tested itself against a wide variety of opponents thanks to its participation in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-off. The Bulldogs split four games in the tournament, topping Colgate and Elon and dropping decisions to Hofstra and Charlotte. Alex Zampier, who leads the team in scoring (22.3 ppg.), has scored more than 25 points in a game twice this season - 29 vs. Quinnipiac and 35 vs. Sacred Heart. Jordan Gibson scored a career-high 25 points in Monday's loss to Charlotte. The Bulldogs rebounded to defeat Elon on Tuesday 69-65. Porter Braswell made four free throws and had a key steal in the final 13 seconds to spark the win. Yale made 17-of-19 free throws in the game and is shooting 82.4 percent for the season. The Bulldogs also average nearly 11 steals per game. Saturday is Yale's first true road game of the season. The Bulldogs have had one home game and five neutral site games.



Yale and Army are playing for the first time since 2003, a 69-63 Black Knight win in West Point, although the teams have scrimmaged a few times in recent years. Army leads the all-time series 27-21.


The Black Knights (3-1) are off to their best start since the 2006-07 season and have won three straight games in November for the first time since 2001-02. Two players - Julian Simmons (13.5 ppg.) and Cleveland Richard (13.3 ppg.) - average double figures in scoring. Simmons scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the final 6:04 in the victory over Harvard. Jeremy Hence (6.5 rpg.) leads the team in rebounding. First-year Army head coach Zach Spiker is familiar with the Bulldogs. He spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach at Cornell, helping the Big Red to a pair of Ivy League titles.


The Bulldogs were picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League preseason media poll, released on Oct. 28 during a media teleconference. Yale has finished higher than projected in three of the last four years. Two-time defending champion Cornell is the overwhelming favorite. The Big Red received all 16 first-place votes. Princeton is second followed by Penn and Harvard. Columbia (sixth), Brown and Dartmouth round out the poll. The Bulldogs, who finished in a tie for second place with Princeton last year, lose four starters but return Alex Zampier, an honorable mention All-Ivy selection. Zampier led the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.848) and was eighth in scoring (13.2 ppg.) and second in steals (1.6 per game). In addition, Yale welcomes back four other players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game.

2009-10 Ivy League Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll

1. Cornell - 128 points (16 first-place votes)

2. Princeton - 96

3. Penn - 92

4. Harvard - 86

5. Yale - 59

6. Columbia - 55

7. Brown - 41

8. Dartmouth - 19


The state of Connecticut has a rich basketball tradition. A new chapter in that history starts this season with the formation of the Connecticut 6, a partnership between six of Connecticut's Division I schools - Yale, Central Connecticut, Fairfield, Hartford, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. The inaugural Connecticut 6 Classic tripleheader was Nov. 13 at the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Classic moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville in 2011. In addition to the tripleheader, a preseason All-Connecticut 6 team was selected and there will be a Connecticut 6 Player of the Week chosen each week during the season.


Jamie Snyder-Fair, who helped Washington & Lee make its first appearance in the ODAC championship game in 20 years last year, has joined James Jones' staff. In his one season at W&L, the Generals won 16 games, their most since 1988-89. Prior to Washington & Lee, Snyder-Fair was an assistant coach at Vassar where he helped the Brewers to 18 wins, which tied the school record. He also spent two years as an assistant at Amherst.


James Jones has made quite an impact on the Yale basketball program. In 10 seasons, Jones has guided Yale to success not seen in New Haven in 40 years. In 2001-02, Jones led the Bulldogs to their first Ivy League title since 1962-63 and the first postseason tournament victory in the 107-year history of Yale basketball. The team won 21 games, the second most in the modern era of Yale basketball, and reached the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Jones, the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League, earned his 100th victory at Yale when the Bulldogs beat Columbia on Feb. 9, 2007. He is only the fourth coach in school history with at least 100 wins. His overall record at Yale is 130-149, including a 77-63 (.550) mark in Ivy games. The Bulldogs have won at least 10 Ivy games twice during his tenure and have had a .500 or better record in league play in each of the last nine years. Three assistant coaches who worked under Jones have gone on to become head coaches - Isaiah Cavaco (Oberlin), Mark Sembrowich (Academy of Arts University) and Mark Gilbride (Clarkson).Jones served as an assistant coach to Villanova's Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team.


Six Yale graduates, all coached by James Jones, are currently playing professional basketball. Edwin Draughan '05 (FOS Ouest, France), Dominick Martin '06 (Illescas CLM, Spain), Matt Kyle '08 (Tunisia), Eric Flato '08 (Plymouth Raiders, England) and Ross Morin '09 (SAM Massagno, Switzerland) are playing overseas, while Travis Pinick '09 was was selected in the eighth round of the 2009 NBA D-League Draft by the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Pinick is currently in camp trying to earn one of 10 roster spots on the D-Fenders.


• The 2009-10 schedule features 31 regular season games, including 12 in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. It will mark the most games Yale has played in a season since 2001-02 when the Bulldogs finished 21-11.

• The Bulldogs made their second appearance in the Preseason NIT. Yale fell to No. 1 ranked UConn in the tournament to open the 2003-04 season. The Bulldogs played four games in this year's tournament.

• The game with Quinnipiac on Nov. 21 capped a busy day on the Yale campus. The 126th edition of the Yale-Harvard football game was played at noon at Yale Bowl. Yale and Quinnipiac had met only once before, an 87-69 Bobcat win in 1999 in the Phoenix Classic at the Hartford Civic Center.

• Senior Alex Zampier has a homecoming when the Bulldogs visit Albany on Jan. 3. Zampier, an East Greenbush, N.Y., native, graduated as the second all-time leading scorer at Columbia High School with 1,381 points. Yale head coach James Jones is a 1996 Albany graduate. He played for and coached with the legendary Dr. Richard Sauers, one of only seven coaches to win more than 700 games.

• The Bulldogs open the 14-game Ivy League schedule at home against Brown on Jan. 15. Three of Yale's first four Ivy games will be at Lee Amphitheater.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity