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Penn, Princeton Visit On Alumni Weekend

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

Bulldogs Square Off With Penn Friday At 7 p.m., Princeton On Saturday At 6 p.m.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs, who have won three of their last four games, begin their first full weekend of Ivy League play with visits from Penn and Princeton. The Quakers are in town for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Friday, while Yale and Princeton meet Saturday at 6 p.m. At both games, Yale student athletes will be collecting donations from fans to help with the relief effort in Haiti. The money donated will be given to three charities - AmeriCares, Doctors Without Borders and the American Red Cross. Saturday also is Alumni Day. The Bulldogs earned a split of the season series with travel partner Brown with a 71-63 victory last Friday in Providence. Alex Zampier scored 22 points to pace Yale and was named the Ivy League Player of the Week. Zampier is approaching a couple of milestones. He needs only five steals to break Daniel Okonkwo's school record of 157. Zampier, who leads the Ivy League in scoring (18.6 ppg.), also is only 44 points shy of 1,000 in his career. Since moving into the starting lineup for the Lehigh game, sophomore Greg Mangano is averaging 8.2 points and 9.4 rebounds. His presence down low also has seemingly helped defensively. He has 14 blocked shots in the last five games, and Yale's opponents are shooting just 38.4 percent from the field during that stretch. As a team, the Bulldogs have blocked 47 shots in the last six games. Yale has also outrebounded each of its last six opponents.


The Bulldogs have swept the Penn-Princeton home weekend three times during James Jones' tenure as head coach at Yale. Yale has won three straight games against Princeton at Lee Amphitheater, while Penn has won the last two times it has come to New Haven.


The Quakers (1-13) are playing their Ivy League opener. As usual Penn played a difficult non-conference schedule. In addition to Big Five games against Villanova, Temple, La Salle and Saint Joseph's, the Quakers have suffered road losses to Penn State, Duke and Davidson. Penn features one of the top guards in the Ivy League in Zack Rosen, who is fifth in the league in scoring (16.6 ppg.), and third in assists (4.3 per game) and free throw percentage (.848). Interim head coach Jerome Allen, who replaced Glen Miller in December, was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year (1992-93, 1993-94) during his playing career at Penn.


The Tigers (9-5) play their Ivy opener on Friday at Brown. Princeton, which has won seven of its last eight games, leads the nation in scoring defense (55.1 ppg.). Douglas Davis tops the team in scoring (14.0 ppg.). He is shooting 40.2 percent from three-point range. Dan Mavraides (12.2 ppg.) is the only other Tiger scoring in double figures. Head coach Sydney Johnson was the 1996-97 Ivy League Player of the Year during his playing career at Princeton.


Yale head coach James Jones and his staff will wear sneakers on Saturday as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend, a collaborative initiative of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Participating coaches will wear sneakers instead of dress shoes with their suits during weekend games to demonstrate their support for the American Cancer Society and its vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Basketball fans are also encouraged to wear sneakers to games to show their support.


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 2010. 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.


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. 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.


• 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 had a homecoming when the Bulldogs visited 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.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity