Experience Pushes Bulldogs To 74-69 Victory At Hartford

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

Morgan Scores 26 Points To Pace Yale

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Yale's experience went a long way in determining the outcome Tuesday against Hartford. Seniors Reggie Willhite and Greg Mangano and junior Austin Morgan made a number of key plays down the stretch to help the Bulldogs earn a hard-fought 74-69 victory over the Hawks at the Chase Family Arena.

The three combined to score 39 of Yale's 45 points in the second half as the Bulldogs erased a six-point halftime deficit.

"It was a hard-fought game. Both teams really battled," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "We were fortunate to make some plays at the end to win the game."

There were 10 ties and nine lead changes.

The final tie was at 65 with 4:29 left, but the Bulldogs scored six straight points. Willhite started the run with a driving layup and then capped it with a steal and dunk.

Still, Hartford refused to die. The Hawks cut it to three on Maciel Genesis' three-pointer and got the ball back, but Genesis missed a three-pointer that would have tied it. Mangano snared the rebound and got the ball to Morgan, who was fouled and calmly hit both free throws with 24 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Morgan, who scored a career-high 27 points Saturday at Army, had another big night, finishing with 26 points. He was 7-of-13 from the field, 5-of-10 from three-point range and 7-of-8 from the foul line.

"When the shots are falling, it's always a nice feeling," Morgan said, "but I know our offense is working best when we are able to get the ball inside."

The Hawks, though, made that difficult, double-teaming Mangano at every opportunity.

"Greg always draws a lot of attention, which makes us all better players," Morgan said.

Despite the constant harassing, Mangano scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Willhite scored 19 points and had nine rebounds.

The Hawks (0-7) played by far their best game of the season. They entered the night shooting just 36 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from three-point range. Hartford, though, made 10 three-pointers and shot 50 percent for the game.

Maciel and Wes Cole both scored 16 points to pace the Hawks, who have 10 freshmen or sophomores on the roster.

Yale (4-2) also shot well. The Bulldogs were 22-of-43 (51.2 percent) from the field.

The game was close throughout. Yale's biggest lead was six, 15-9, after a Brandon Sherrod layup midway through the first half. The Hawks, though, closed the half with an 8-2 run to go up by six at the intermission and then increased the advantage to nine early in the second half before the Bulldogs rallied.

Sherrod finished six points. Jeremiah Kreisberg scored five.

NOTES: Yale has now beaten the Hawks four straight times. It hasn't been easy, however. Five of the last six meetings between the teams have been decided by five points or less… The Bulldogs outscored Hartford 23-11 at the foul line… The Hawks' bench outscored Yale's 26-7… Both teams had 27 rebounds… After playing three straight road games, the Bulldogs return to the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater on Saturday, hosting Vermont at 2 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity