November 20, 2012

Trip To Defending America East Champion Vermont Next Up

Bulldogs Face Catamounts Wednesday

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. -  A busy road stretch continues for the Bulldogs, who played at Saint Joseph's last Monday night and then had three games in three days in Indiana over the weekend. Next up is a long trip to Burlington, Vt., to meet the Catamounts. Tipoff at Patrick Gymnasium is slated for 7 p.m.

Senior Austin Morgan (13.2 ppg.) leads the team in scoring. Morgan, who set a school record with a .900 free throw percentage last year, which was fifth in the nation, continues to shine at the line this year. He has made 14-of-15 (.933) free throws. Morgan also is one of the top three-point shooters in the Ivy League. His 2.8 three-pointers per game are second in the league. The Bulldogs also have been getting strong play from freshman Justin Sears, who leads the team in rebounding (6.6 rpg.). Twenty of Sears' 33 rebounds have come on the offensive end, which has helped Yale average more than 12 offensive rebounds per game which is tops in the league. Sears scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Yale's 63-59 victory over Buffalo on Saturday. The Bulldogs feature a new look from last year's team that won 19 games and played in the CollegeInsider.com post season tournament. Greg Mangano and Reggie Willhite, who combined to take nearly half of the team's shots, have graduated. In the last three games, Yale has started one senior, three sophomores and a freshman.

WHO'S HOT

•  Justin Sears averaged 14 points, 7.7 rebounds and had four steals in the three games at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Indiana. He was 15-of-27 (.556) from the field and 12-of-17 (.706) from the free throw line.

•  Brandon Sherrod scored a season-high nine points in only 18 minutes against Western Illinois on Sunday. Sherrod was 4-of-6 from the field.

•  Armani Cotton made the first three starts of his career in the three games in Indiana. Cotton is seventh in the Ivy League in three-point field goal percentage (.417, 5-of-12). 

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale and Vermont are playing for the sixth straight year and the 24th time overall. The Catamounts lead the series 12-11. Last year in New Haven, the Bulldogs built a 38-20 halftime lead and cruised to a 68-52 win. Austin Morgan and Jeremiah Kreisberg each had 14 points for Yale. The Bulldogs have lost their last six games in Burlington, although two of the losses came in overtime and two others were decided by four points or less. Yale's last victory at Vermont was an 82-80 decision in 1986. Chris Dudley scored 26 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs.

SCOUTING VERMONT

The Catamounts (2-1) will be playing their home opener when the Bulldogs come to town. Vermont is coming off a 66-55 victory at Northeastern on Saturday. UVM's one loss came at UConn. Luke Apfeld (11.0 ppg.) and Ethan O'Day (10.0 ppg.) lead the team in scoring. Vermont won its fifth America East Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in school history last season.  UVM also earned its second NCAA Tournament victory with a win over Lamar in the First Four Round in Dayton, Ohio.  The Catamounts will recognize last year's achievements prior to the start of the game against Yale. The Catamounts are 44-11 at Patrick Gymnasium over the last four seasons.

YALE PICKED SIXTH IN PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

The Bulldogs have finished fourth or better in the Ivy League in each of the last 12 years. That didn't earn Yale much respect in the preseason Ivy League media poll, which projected a sixth-place finish for the Bulldogs. Yale, though, has a history of proving the prognosticators wrong. In five of the last seven years, the Bulldogs have finished higher than projected. Princeton is the near unanimous favorite to win the league. The Tigers received 16 of the 17 first-place votes. . Defending champion Harvard was picked second followed by Columbia, Cornell and Penn. Brown and Dartmouth round out the poll.

2012-13 IVY LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

First-Place Votes in Parentheses

Rank       School............................................ Points

1.             Princeton (16)..................................... 134

2.             Harvard (1)......................................... 109

3.             Columbia.............................................. 90

4.             Cornell................................................. 80

5.             Penn.................................................... 74

6.             Yale...................................................... 55

7.             Brown.................................................. 50

8.             Dartmouth........................................... 20

PRESEASON HONORS

Senior Austin Morgan has earned a couple of preseason honors. He was named first team All-League by the Blue Ribbon College Yearbook and received second team recognition from College Sports Madness and Lindy's. Morgan, a two-year starter, finished fifth in the nation and set a school record with a .900 free throw percentage. Junior Jeremiah Kreisberg was named to the preseason third team by College Sports Madness. Kreisberg has started 47 games in his first two seasons. Last year, he started all 29 games and finished third on the team in rebounding (5.1 rpg.) and fourth in scoring (7.7 ppg.).

MEET THE NEWCOMERS

The 2012-13 Yale roster features four freshmen. Khaliq Bedart-Ghani (Inglewood, CA), Jack Montague (Brentwood, TN), Justin Sears (Plainfield, NJ) and Nick Victor (Dallas, TX) all bring strong credentials. Bedart-Ghani led Loyola High School in California in rebounding and blocks as a senior last winter. Montague was the district, region and county most valuable player as a senior at Brentwood High School. He averaged 17.0 points and seven assists and scored more than 1,200 career points. Sears earned first team all-state, all-area and all-county honors as a senior at Plainfield High School in New Jersey. He scored 1,048 points and grabbed 1,063 rebounds in his career to become only the second player in school history to score over 1,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds. He helped lead Plainfield to two New Jersey Tournament of Champion title games where it lost to national power St. Anthony's both times. Victor spent one year at the Winchendon School and earned NEPSAC honorable mention recognition. At Lovejoy High School in Dallas, Texas, he was the 2010 District most valuable player.

2012-13 SCHEDULE NOTES

•  The Bulldogs don't play their first home game until Saturday, Nov. 24 against Army at 2 p.m. That is the first of 12 games in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

•  Yale played in the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The first game was at Saint Joseph, the Atlantic 10 preseason favorite. The Bulldogs then headed to Evansville, Ind., for three games, against Evansville, Buffalo and Western Illinois.

•  New England rival New Hampshire is on the schedule for the first time since 1998. The Bulldogs meet the Wildcats on Dec. 8 in Durham, N.H.

•  Yale faces a very challeging three-game road trip right after Christmas. The Bulldogs travel to Nevada, Saint Mary's and Iowa State. The trip to Nevada is a homecoming for Reno native Austin Morgan, while the trip to Iowa State is a homecoming for Ames, Iowa, native Jesse Pritchard.

•  The biggest test of the season, though, may come in Lee Amphitheater when preseason No. 10 Florida visits on Jan. 6. The Gators return three starters from a squad that went 26-11 and fell one game shy of the Final Four last year.

•  The Florida game is one of two in the Amphitheater that will be nationally televised. The NBC Sports Network will be in town for the game with the Gators, while CBS Sports Television will show the home game with Harvard on Feb. 23.

•  Yale kicks off Ivy League play on Jan. 19 at Brown. Five of the first six Ivy games will be on the road.

WILLHITE DRAFTED IN 5TH ROUND OF NBA D-LEAGUE DRAFT

Reggie Willhite, the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year last year as a senior at Yale, was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NBA Development League Draft on Nov. 2. Willhite was selected by the Reno Bighorns with the fifth pick in the fifth round. He was the 70th player chosen overall. Willhite becomes the second Yale player to be drafted by a D-League team. Alex Zampier '10 was chosen in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by the New Mexico Thunderbirds. Willhite enjoyed an outstanding career for the Bulldogs. His 132 career steals are the seventh most in school history. As a senior, he earned second team All-Ivy recognition, set a single-season school record with 65 steals and was 17th in the nation in steals (2.24 per game). Willhite joins a long list of players that have earned professional opportunities during James Jones' tenure as the head coach at Yale. Ted Smith (England), Matt Minoff (Israel), Paul Vitelli (Italy), Dominick Martin (Spain), Matt Kyle (Portugal), Caleb Holmes (Iceland), Ross Morin (Switzerland), Eric Flato (England), Greg Mangano (Turkey) and Edwin Draughan (France) have all played overseas. Zampier and Neil Yanke (tryout with Los Angeles Lakers) both had opportunities in the United States.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

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