Bulldogs, Bears Meet Saturday Afternoon
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale kicks off Ivy League play like it has in each of the last eight years, by playing Brown. The Bulldogs and Bears meet on Saturday. Tip off on Youth Day at the John J. Lee Amphitheater is set for 2 p.m. Tickets for children 12-and-under are $2 and there will be a post-game autograph session with the Yale players.
Yale was picked to finish third in the annual Ivy League Preseason poll. The Bulldogs have finished higher than projected in six of the last eight years, including last season when they were picked sixth and finished third.
Yale (6-8) built some positive momentum in last Saturday's 88-49 victory over Baruch. The Bulldogs shot 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from three-point range and had 12 of the 14 players that saw action score. That capped a successful pre-Ivy schedule that saw Yale challenge major conference foes Providence (76-74 loss) and Rutgers (72-71 loss) and earn road victories at Lafayette and Hartford.
Brown and Yale had similar non-conference results. Both teams played Central Connecticut, Sacred Heart, Bryant, New Hampshire, Providence and Albany and both went 3-3 in those games.
Javier Duren and Justin Sears have led the Bulldogs. Duren is eighth in the Ivy League in scoring (13.4 ppg.), sixth in assists (3.2 per game), eighth in free throw percentage (.786) and second in steals (1.6 per game). Sears is fifth in the league in scoring (14.7 ppg.) and rebounding (6.5 rpg.), ninth in field goal percentage (.503) and third in blocked shots (1.7 per game).
The same two teams will play again next Saturday in Providence.
3 KEYS FOR YALE
Shake Off Early Jitters – There is always a little bit of extra tension in the Ivy League opener. The sooner the Bulldogs relax and find their rhythm, the better.
Rebound – The team that controls the boards will have a good chance of coming away with the victory. Brown features two of the Ivy League's top four rebounders in Rafael Maia (8.3 rpg.) and Cedric Kuakumensah (6.9 rpg.). Yale is consistently among the Ivy League leaders in rebounding.
Defensive Pressure – Brown averages nearly 15 turnovers per game. If Yale can force the Bears into some mistakes, it could lead to easy baskets.
• In the last two games, Matt Townsend is shooting 80 percent (8-of-10) from the field and averaging 10.5 points.
• Greg Kelley returned to the lineup against Baruch after missing two games with an injury, went 3-for-3 from the field, all from three-point range, and scored nine points.
• Jack Montague had his best game at Yale Saturday against Baruch. He was 5-of-5 from the field, including 4-of-4 from three-point range, en route to scoring a career-high 15 points.
Yale has won three straight against Brown at Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs, though, needed overtime to knock off the Bears last year in New Haven. Justin Sears had 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals to lead Yale, which outscored Brown 18-6 in overtime. Javier Duren scored five of his nine points in the extra period. The teams split the season series last year. The Bears won 65-51 in Providence. Overall, Yale has won six of the last seven meetings and leads the all-time series 100-51.
Brown (8-6) finished with a winning non-conference record for the first time since 2007-08. The Bears' eight non-league wins are one shy of the school record set in 2001-02. Sean McGonagill (18.7 ppg.) leads the Ivy League in scoring. In addition, he is ninth in the nation in three-point field goals per game (3.57) and 11th in minutes played per game (37.0). McGonagill is fourth on Brown's all-time scoring list with 1,375 career points. Cedric Kuakumensah, the 2013 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, is 18th in the nation in blocked shots (3.14 per game). Rafael Maia (8.3 rpg.) is second in the Ivy League in rebounding.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity