Game Day Central: Trip To Nevada A Homecoming For Morgan

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Austin Morgan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Face Wolf Pack Friday

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A very challenging three-game road trip for the Bulldogs begins at the University of Nevada on Friday night. Tip off at the Lawlor Events Center is set for 10 p.m. EST. Yale then heads to St. Mary's on Sunday and concludes the trip on New Year's Day at Iowa State.

The Bulldogs (4-7) haven't played since a 112-63 victory over Albertus Magnus on Dec. 8. The game with Nevada is a homecoming for Reno native Austin Morgan, who graduated as Reno High School's all-time leading scorer with 2,046 career points. He leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 12.4 ppg., is fourth in school history with 163 career three-pointers and needs 28 points to reach 1,000 in his career. Morgan, who admits to being a big Nevada fan growing up, expects to have 60 to 70 family and friends at the game, including his two brothers who live in California and his grandparents who are flying in from Ohio. The Lawlor Events Center is a familiar venue for Morgan. He has played there four times and his team won each time, including victories in the 2006 and 2008 state championship games. Morgan is the only Yale player to start all 11 games. In fact, head coach James Jones has used five different startling lineups so far this season. Each of the three games on this trip is a homecoming for a Yale player. Jeremiah Kreisberg hails from Berkeley, Calif., a short distance from the Saint. Mary's campus, and Jesse Pritchard is an Ames, Iowa, native. His house is a five-minute bike ride from the Iowa State campus.

WHO'S HOT

•  Jeremiah Kreisberg is averaging 13.0 points and shooting 70.8 percent from the field over the last three games. Kreisberg started all 29 games last year but had off-season back surgery which limited him early in the season. He made his first start of the season against Albertus Magnus.

•  Justin Sears is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 60 percent from the field in his last three games. Sears (6.4 rpg.) is sixth in the Ivy League in rebounding and has 37 offensive rebounds, which are the second most in the league.

•  Javier Duren flirted with a double-double in the victory over Albertus Magnus, scoring eight points and grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds.

•  Michael Grace matched his career high with seven assists in the win over Albertus Magnus.

•  Yale got a season-high 62 points from its bench against Albertus Magnus.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale and Nevada are playing for only the second time. The Wolf Pack edged the Bulldogs 87-84 on Jan. 3, 1969, in Reno.

SCOUTING NEVADA

The Wolf Pack (8-4) has won four straight, including an impressive 76-73 victory at Washington on Dec. 8. Nevada is coming off an 84-74 win over Cal State San Marcos on Dec. 21. Deonte Burton (16.8 ppg.) and Malik Story (15.8 ppg.) lead the team in scoring. The two also are the only players to start all 12 games. Nevada is in its first season in the Mountain West Conference. The Wolf Pack was picked to finish fifth behind San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico and Colorado State. The Wolf Pack reached the quarterfinals of the NIT last year before losing to Stanford.

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 didn't play their first home game until Saturday, Nov. 24 against Army. That was 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.

•  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, Jeremiah Kreisberg hails from Berkeley, Calif., a short distance from the Saint. Mary's campus 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 third 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 and Travis Pinick '09 was taken in the eighth round of the 2009 draft by the Los Angeles D-Fenders Willhite enjoyed an outstanding career for the Bulldogs. 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, Pinick 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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