February 18, 2012

Quick Start Leads Harvard Past Yale

Mangano Scores 22 Points, Grabs 11 Rebounds For Bulldogs

BOSTON, Mass. – This time, the hole Yale dug itself was just a little too deep to get out of.

One week after rallying from a 21-point deficit against Columbia to win, the Bulldogs found themselves down 20 to Harvard midway through the first half. Yale fought back again, pulling within four with 14 minutes left, but the Crimson used a late push to escape with a 66-51 victory before a packed house of 2,195 at Lavietes Pavilion.

First-place Harvard (22-3) improved to 9-1 in Ivy League play, two games ahead of Yale (17-7, 7-3 Ivy).

"We've been resilient all year," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "Nothing changed tonight. Last week was a miracle. You can't expect to come back like that again."

Still, the situation the Bulldogs found themselves in against the Crimson wasn't as dire. Yale scored the final 11 points of the first half and was well within striking distance, 35-26, at the intermission.

"We felt good at halftime," Jones said. "It was okay, we can do this."

And early in the second half, it looked like they might. Yale's defense was giving Harvard trouble, and when Greg Mangano hit two free throws, the Bulldogs were within four, 42-38, with 13:40 remaining and seemed to have all the momentum on their side.

The Crimson, though, scored the next five points, including a big three-pointer from Brandyn Curry, who scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the second half.

A few minutes later, Reggie Willhite, Yale's best defender, picked up his fourth foul and had to go to the bench.

"Reggie getting his fourth foul was trouble," Jones said. "He's a big part of what we do defensively."

The Bulldogs were down 10 at the time and never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

Mangano had another huge game for the Bulldogs, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. He was 7-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range.

"Greg was tremendous," Jones said. "He did everything he could."

Austin Morgan added eight points, and Willhite had seven points, five rebounds and a steal.

Keith Wright was the only player other than Curry to score in double figures for Harvard. Wright had 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Crimson, who extended its home winning streak to 27, the second longest in the nation, started strong. Harvard was shooting 68.2 percent from the field and had a 35-17 lead with 3:19 left in the first half.

"We were guarding them too tight on the perimeter, which let them dribble drive and get easy baskets," Jones said.

The Bulldogs made the necessary adjustments, and the comeback began. Harvard had only 10 field goals in the second half.

NOTES: The Crimson outrebounded Yale 33-22. It was only the sixth time all season that the Bulldogs were beaten on the boards… Yale had 22 turnovers in the first meeting with Harvard on Jan. 27 but committed only seven… Mangano is now averaging 18.4 points and 9.9 rebounds on the season…The Yale coaching staff wore On The Line buttons to raise awareness for prostate cancer… The Bulldogs play their final two home regular season games next weekend, hosting Columbia on Friday and Cornell on Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity