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Season Begins Against Quinnipiac In Connecticut 6 Classic

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

Bulldogs, Bobcats Meet In Final Game Of Tripleheader

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The 116th season of Yale basketball kicks off on Saturday with the second Connecticut 6 Classic. The Bulldogs face Quinnipiac in the third game of the tripleheader. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. Central Connecticut meets Hartford in the first game at 4 p.m. followed by Fairfield playing Sacred Heart.

Yale played Sacred Heart in the augural Connecticut 6 Classic last year. Alex Zampier scored 35 points, but the Bulldogs dropped a hard-fought 92-86 decision. Zampier went on to average 17.4 points per game for the season, the most at Yale since Paul Maley averaged 20.2 points in 1987-88. Zampier has graduated so the Bulldogs figure to have a more balanced attack, which could suit the team well. Under James Jones, who begins his 12th season at the helm, Yale has been its most successful when the scoring is spread out. Greg Mangano, Austin Morgan and Porter Braswell are all experienced and should carry much of the offensive load. Saturday is the first of four games away from home to begin the season. The Bulldogs are at Providence on Monday, play at Boston College next Thursday and take a trip to Illinois before Thanksgiving. Yale's first home game is Nov. 27 against Army.


Despite being located less than 15 miles apart, Yale and Quinnipiac have played only twice, an 87-69 Bobcat victory in the 1999 Phoenix Classic at the Hartford Civic Center and a 71-64 Quinnipiac win last year at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Justin Rutty scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end, to lead the Bobcats last year.


The Bobcats are coming off unprecedented success in 2009-10, having won a program-record 23 games and earning a berth into the National Invitation Tournament, the first national postseason tournament appearance in program Division I history. Junior forward Justin Rutty was named the NEC Player of the Year, becoming the first player in program history to earn the award.  Both Rutty and senior wing James Feldeine were named to the All-NEC First Team. With eight players returning from that team, the Northeast Conference's coaches selected the Bobcats as the league's first unanimous preseason favorite since 1997-98 (Long Island). In addition, The Sporting News, Athlon, Lindy's and the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Report also picked the Bobcats as the NEC favorite.

Bulldogs Picked Fifth In Ivy League Preseason Poll

Yale was picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League by the select panel of 17 Ivy media representatives. Yale, though, shouldn't put too much stock in those prognostications. The Bulldogs have finished higher than projected in four of the last five years. Princeton, which received 12 of 17 first-place votes, is the preseason Ivy League favorite. The Tigers return their top five scorers and top two rebounders. Harvard got four first-place votes and is second followed by Cornell (one first-place vote) and Penn. Brown, Columbia and Dartmouth round out the poll.



First-Place Votes in Parentheses

Rank    School                         Points

1.          Princeton (12)          128

2.          Harvard (4)              120

3.          Cornell (1)                 96

4.          Penn                          89

5.          Yale                            57

6.          Brown                         55

7.          Columbia                    48

8.          Dartmouth                  19


Greg Mangano, who led the Ivy League in blocked shots last year, has been named to the All-Connecticut 6 preseason team. Mangano, a 6-foot-10 junior, tied for fifth in the league in rebounding (5.5 rpg.). In addition, he was fourth on the team in scoring (7.5 ppg.) and tied for second in rebounding. Joining Mangano on the All-Connecticut 6 preseason team is Quinnipiac forward Justin Rutty, Central Connecticut guard Shemik Thompson, Fairfield guard Derek Needham, Hartford guard Joe Zeglinski and Sacred Heart guard Jerrell Thompson.


The state of Connecticut has a rich basketball tradition. A new chapter in that history started in 2009-10 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 second annual Connecticut 6 Classic tripleheader is Nov. 13 at the the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. 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 11 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 nine of his 11 years. Four assistant coaches who worked under Jones have gone on to become head coaches - Isaiah Cavaco (Oberlin), Mark Sembrowich (Academy of Arts University), Mark Gilbride (Clarkson) and Ted Hotaling (New Haven).Jones served as an assistant coach to Villanova's Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team.


•   The Bulldogs will face seven teams that reached the post-season last year – Cornell (NCAA), Vermont (NCAA), Lehigh (NCAA), Quinnipiac (NIT), Illinois (NIT), Harvard (CIT) and Princeton (CBI).

•   Yale will play five afternoon home games in Lee Amphitheater – Army (Nov. 27), Sacred Heart (Dec. 19), Lehigh (Dec. 31), Baruch College (Jan. 8) and Brown (Jan. 22). All are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

•   There will be familiar faces on the opposing bench when the Bulldogs play at Boston College. Steve Donahue, who guided Cornell to last three Ivy League titles, is in his first season as the head coach at BC. His associate head coach, Joe Jones, was the head coach at Columbia for the last seven years and is the younger brother of Yale head coach James Jones.

•   Boston College is one of six opponents that will have first-year head coaches. Hartford (John Gallagher), Holy Cross (Milan Brown), Columbia (Kyle Smith), Cornell (Bill Courtney) and Dartmouth (Paul Cormier) are the others.

•   Yale will be playing Illinois for only the second time. The first meeting was a 71-67 Illini victory in the 1949 NCAA Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

•   Yale will be playing Stanford for third time in the last four years. The Cardinal became the first Pac 10 to school to play in Lee Amphitheater in 2008.

•   Yale will host a game on New Year's Eve for the first time since 1930. The Bulldogs play Lehigh in a 2 p.m. tip-off.


   Michael Sands has withdrawn from Yale for personal reasons and will not be with the team... There are two Connecticut natives on the Yale roster. Greg Mangano is from Orange and freshman Isaiah Salafia is from Cromwell...James Jones is the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity