Key Road Weekend Awaits Bulldogs

Meet Harvard Friday, Dartmouth Saturday

Related Links

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -  The Bulldogs, winners of six of their last eight games, have had some success on the road this season. Yale has won at Boston College and at Holy Cross and played well in narrow losses to Providence and Vermont, both of whom have top 100 RPIs. The Bulldogs need a productive road trip this weekend when they travel to Harvard on Friday and Dartmouth on Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs (11-9, 4-2 Ivy) sit in third place in the Ivy League as they approach the midway point, one game behind Harvard (5-1) and 1.5 games behind first-place Princeton (5-0). An improbable comeback against Cornell last Friday helped keep Yale in the race. The Bulldogs trailed by 10 points with 1:58 left and seven points with 1:10 remaining before rallying for a 71-70 victory. Austin Morgan's three-point play with 12 seconds left was the game-winner. It was Morgan's second game-winning three-point play this season. He scored in almost identical fashion with six seconds left in Yale's 77-76 win over Holy Cross in early January. The Bulldogs have played eight games decided by five points or less and are 5-3 in those games. Greg Mangano (15.1 ppg., 10.0 rpg., 57 blocks) is 16th in the nation in blocks and 24th in rebounding. Yale needs one victory to match its overall wins total from a year ago. The Bulldogs finished 12-19 in 2009-10.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

Pay-per-view video is available for each game - at gocrimson.com for Friday's game and at dartmouthsports.com on Saturday. In addition, audio of Saturday's game will be featured on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 130 and on dartmouthsports.com.

LEAGUE LEADERS

Yale continues to lead the Ivy League in field goal percentage defense (.417). The Bulldogs are second in blocks (4.5 per game) and third in scoring defense (66.8) and free throw percentage (.726). Nationally, Yale is 60th in blocked shots per game and 67th in free throw percentage.

HISTORY LESSONS

The Bulldogs have 114 victories all-time against Harvard, their most against any opponent. Yale head coach James Jones is 16-6 against Harvard, but the Crimson swept the season series last year, winning an 82-79 overtime thriller in New Haven and a 78-58 decision in Cambridge. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 114-68, but Harvard has won three straight.

Yale has won three straight and seven of the last eight meetings with Dartmouth. Jones is 17-5 against the Big Green, including a pair of victories last year. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 102-94.

Yale has swept the Harvard-Dartmouth road trip four times under Jones.

SCOUTING HARVARD

   The Crimson (16-4, 5-1 Ivy) is off to its best Ivy League start since the 1996-97 season. Harvard is coming off a thrilling 83-82 double overtime victory at Penn last Saturday. Oliver McNally's layup with 11.5 seconds left was the game-winner. The Crimson is riding a 13-game win streak at home, the most since winning 14 straight from 1946-47. Keith Wright (15.2 ppg., 8.4 rpg.) leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Three other players - Christian Webster (13.9 ppg.), Laurent Rivard (11.5 ppg.) and Oliver McNally (10.0 ppg.) - average double figures in scoring. Tommy Amaker is in his fourth season as Harvard's head coach.

SCOUTING DARTMOUTH

   Paul Cormier is back for his second stint as Dartmouth's head coach. He spent seven years with the Big Green in the late 1980's before being named the head coach at Fairfield. The Big Green (5-15, 1-5 Ivy) features a balanced scoring attack, led by Jabari Trotter (8.8 ppg.). Eight players average between 5.1 and 8.8 points.

CORNELL-COLUMBIA NOTES

•  Yale swept the Cornell-Columbia home weekend for the seventh time in James 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 rallied from a 10-point deficit with two minutes left in the second half to defeat Cornell. It was the largest deficit Yale has overcome this season.

•  Austin Morgan averaged 16.0 points and 4.5 assists.

•  Porter Braswell shot 50 percent from the field, 55.6 percent from three-point range and averaged 15.5 points.

•  Reggie Willhite held two of the Ivy League's top scorers well below their averages. Cornell's Chris Wroblewski was just 3-of-8 from the field in scoring nine points, six below his average. The next night Columbia's Noruwa Agho, who leads the league in scoring, was 3-of-7 from the field and scored six points, almost 10 below his average.

•  Michael Grace made all five of his shots and scored 11 points off the bench against Columbia. Yale's bench outscored Columbia's 22-7 in the game.

BULLDOGS 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.

2010-11 IVY LEAGUE PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

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

HEAD COACH JAMES JONES

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Bulldogs' most impressive victory during the non-conference season was a 75-67 win at Boston College on Nov. 18. Yale made a season-high 12 three-pointers in the game. BC's only lead was 2-1. The Eagles are currently 15-9 overall and 5-5 in the ACC...Three Bulldogs took an active role in the Yale Athletic Department's annual Holiday Gift Giving Initiative. Alfonso Costa, Michael Grace and Jesse Pritchard visited Augusta Lewis Troup School on Friday, Dec. 10, to distribute gifts collected. Costa, who also plays lacrosse, is chair of Yale's Student-Athlete Community Outreach Committee...Roger Lee, the youngest son of Yale great John Lee '58, attended the Yale-Stanford game. John Lee scored 1,493 points in three seasons at Yale. Yale's home court, the John J. Lee Amphitheater, is named in his honor... Yale's home game with Princeton will be televised as part of the winter "Yale On Yes" package.

Reggie Willhite photo by David Silverman (dspics.com)

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity