Bulldogs Topple Columbia 72-67; Complete Weekend Sweep
Yale's Bench Contributes 22 Points
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale didn't need any last-minute heroics to knock off Columbia on Saturday. The Bulldogs, who rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes in Friday's win over Cornell, built a 16-point halftime lead in a 72-67 victory before 1,365 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
That doesn't mean there weren't some anxious moments. The Lions pulled within three twice in the second half, including with 19 seconds left, but Austin Morgan calmly sank two free throws to seal a very important victory.
"The win [Friday] night really helped us," said Michael Grace, who provided the Bulldogs with a big spark off the bench. "It taught us how to fight through adversity."
It didn't look like there would be too many stressful moments when Yale had a 19-point lead two minutes into the second half. Columbia, though, scored eight straight points to get back in it.
Danny Feldmann's three-pointer pulled the Lions within 57-54 with 7:17 remaining. Yale quickly built the lead back to 10, but Columbia made one last run. Brian Barbour hit a trey to cut the deficit to 70-65, and after a Yale turnover, Asenso Ampim slammed home a Dean Kowalski miss to make it 70-67. Morgan's two free throws, though, iced the win.
"We stopped moving the ball and took too many three's when what we should have done was drive to the basket and get it inside," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "We have to play for 40 minutes. If we have a lull, we are going to get hurt."
The Bulldogs (11-9, 4-2 Ivy) made 5-of-6 fouls shots in the final minute and were 14-of-18 for the game.
"We're a good shooting team," Jones said.
Greg Mangano paced Yale with 21 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Morgan added 15 points and five assists, and Porter Braswell had 13 points. Grace was 5-for-5 from the field, most on strong drives to the basket, and finished with 11 points in 15 minutes.
"I took what the defense gave me," Grace said. "I really benefitted from Greg's big first half. They were really keying on him."
Grace led a Yale bench that outscored Columbia's 22-7. Depth is particularly important on the second night of an Ivy weekend.
"Coach [Jones] always harps on that," Grace said. "No matter how much playing time you've been getting, he tells you he's going to need you at some point."
Early on, it appeared Yale might be emotionally spent after Friday's dramatic win as the Lions built a 10-2 lead after five minutes. That's when Mangano took over. He scored nine points in an 11-0 Bulldogs run.
The score was tied at 13 before Sam Martin hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Yale the lead for good.
Mangano scored 17 of his points in the opening half. He was 7-of-14 from field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, in the first 20 minutes.
"I was getting the ball in an area where I could do something with it," said. Mangano, who is still averaging a double-double (15.1 ppg., 10.0 rpg.) for the season.
Barbour paced Columbia (12-8, 3-3 Ivy) with 19 points, and Mark Cisco added 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
NOTES: Reggie Willhite did another superb defensive job on a big-time scorer, holding Columbia's Noruwa Agho, who entered the weekend as the Ivy Leaague's leading scorer, to six points, nearly 10 below his average… Yale has now swept the Cornell-Columbia home weekend seven times in Jones' tenure as head coach… The two victories this weekend give Jones 153 at Yale, moving him past Dick Kuchen into second place all-time at Yale. Joe Vancisin is the school's career wins leader with 206... The Bulldogs play at Harvard next Friday and at Dartmouth on Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity