February 25, 2009

Final Road Trip Takes Yale To Penn, Princeton

Feb. 25, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs, who have won three of their last four games, make their final road trip of the regular season this weekend. Yale (11-13, 6-4 Ivy) plays at Penn on Friday at 7 p.m. ( WYBC Audio | Video | Live Stats) and then is at Princeton on Saturday at 6 p.m. (WYBC Audio | Video | Live Stats). The Bulldogs are tied with Columbia and Dartmouth for second-place in the Ivy League, two games behind first-place Cornell.

Yale used second-half comebacks to sweep Cornell and Columbia last weekend. The Bulldogs erased a seven-point deficit to knock off the Big Red 72-60 and then held the Lions to only eight points over the final 14 minutes to rally from a nine-point deficit in a 57-49 victory. The Bulldogs have trailed at halftime in three of their six Ivy wins. Yale's three senior starters are closing out their careers in fine fashion. Ross Morin, who needs only 51 points to become the 22nd player in school history to score 1,000 career points, scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half to spark the comeback against Columbia. Travis Pinick is shooting 76.2 percent from the field (16 of 21) and averaging 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in his last three games. He needs only three rebounds to reach 500 in his career. Chris Andrews has 17 assists and only five turnovers in his last four games. He matched his career high with 10 points in the win over Cornell.

HISTORY LESSONS
The Bulldogs last swept the Penn-Princeton road trip in 1986-87 when they beat the Quakers 81-80 and the Tigers 62-50. It's happened only twice since then - Cornell last season and Dartmouth last weekend. Yale's last win at the Palestra came over Princeton, 76-60 on Mar. 7, 2002, in an Ivy League playoff game. The Bulldogs have dropped 11 straight games to the Quakers in the historic building. Their last win at Penn was a 60-58 decision on Feb. 15, 1997. Yale is looking to sweep the season series from Princeton for the third straight year. The Bulldogs topped the Tigers 60-48 two weeks ago in New Haven. Alex Zampier led the way with 13 points. Yale and Princeton have met at least once every year since 1902, which ties the series with Yale-Columbia as the oldest continuous series in Division I. The Bulldogs have won five straight, but Princeton leads the all-time series 138-81.

SCOUTING PENN
In Ivy League play, the Quakers (8-15, 4-5 Ivy) are 4-1 on the road but a surprising 0-4 at the Palestra. Tyler Bernardini leads Penn in scoring (14.0 ppg.). Jack Eggleston averages 10.0 points and a team best 6.0 rebounds. Harrison Gaines scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Quakers 68-63 win over Yale in the first meeting between the teams on Valentine's Day. Freshman Zack Rosen leads the Ivy League in assists (5.2 per game). Glen Miller is in his third year as the head coach at Penn.

SCOUTING PRINCETON
Since opening Ivy play with four straight wins, the Tigers (10-12, 5-4 Ivy) have lost four of their last five. Nevertheless, Princeton has already won as many league games this year as it did in the previous two seasons combined. The Tigers lead the Ivy League and are seventh in the nation in scoring defense (57.7 ppg.). Freshman Douglas Davis leads the team in scoring (12.2 ppg.) followed by Dan Mavraides (10.0 ppg.). Zach Finley is Princeton's top rebounder (4.5 rpg.). Sydney Johnson is in his second season as the head coach of the Tigers.

YALE PICKED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL
Yale was picked to finish third in the Ivy League preseason media poll, released during a media teleconference on Oct. 21. Defending champion Cornell was the unanimous first-place selection. The Big Red return four starters and four All-Ivy picks from a team that went undefeated in league play last year. Penn was picked second. Harvard was fourth followed by Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth and Princeton.

2008-09 Ivy League Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll
1. Cornell - 128 points (16 first-place votes)
2. Penn - 110
3. Yale - 80
4. Harvard - 77
5. Brown - 75
6. Columbia - 45
7. Dartmouth - 33
8. Princeton - 28

YALE ON YES
Two Yale men's basketball games were televised live on the YES Network as part of the Yale on YES package. The first was the Feb. 13 against Princeton and the second was the Feb. 21 Columbia game. In addition, YES showed the Yale women's game against Harvard on Feb. 6.

NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE NOTES
• The Bulldogs travelled nearly 10,000 miles (9,962) for their 10 non-conference road games.
• Yale went 3-1 at home in non-conference play. The only loss came to Stanford, 75-67, in the season opener before a sellout crowd of 2,532 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. The game featured seven ties and 13 lead changes.
• The Bulldogs picked up their first win ever over a Pac-10 school when they edged Oregon State 53-52 on Nov. 24. Yale had dropped its previous 15 games against the conference. In James Jones' tenure as head coach, Yale has now knocked off schools from the Big East (Rutgers), Big Ten (Penn State), ACC (Clemson) and Pac-10 (Oregon State).
• Yale nearly pulled off another upset before falling 66-63 at Alabama on Dec. 28. The Bulldogs were within one point twice in the final minute, but the Crimson Tide made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Alex Zampier scored 28 points, the most by a Bulldog this season, in a 76-66 win over Holy Cross. It was the first time a Yale player scored at least 25 points in a game since Eric Flato had 26 against Columbia in 2007.

BUTCH GRAVES '84 RECEIVES NCAA HONOR
Former Yale men's basketball star Earl "Butch" Graves '84 was one of six recipients of the 2009 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, presented annually since 1973 to former student-athletes whose collegiate careers ended 25 years ago and who have gone on to excel in their chosen professions. Graves received his award at the NCAA Honors and Delegates Celebration on January 15, 2009, during the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. Graves, the captain of the 1983-84 Bulldogs, is Yale's all-time leading scorer with 2,090 career points and is one of only four players in Ivy League history to score at least 2,000 points. He was named first team All-Ivy in both 1983 and 1984 and led the league in scoring in Ivy games three times (1982-84). Graves, who received a bachelor's degree in economics from Yale, is the president & CEO of Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., publisher of Black Enterprise magazine. He is responsible for the strategic positioning and overall profitability of the corporation.

FREE VIDEO STREAMS ON YALEBULLDOGS.COM
Free live video is available for all Yale home games that aren't televised. Fans can access the games at yalebulldogs.com by clicking on the Yale All*Access logo in the top right corner. An e-mail address and password are required to subscribe to the service. WYBC (1340 AM) provides audio.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Former NBA star Chris Dudley, a 1987 Yale graduate, hosted the team for dinner during the trip to Oregon. Dudley, who lives just outside of Portland, played 16 seasons in the NBA and scored 3,473 points and collected 5,457 rebounds. He was a three-time first team All-Ivy selection at Yale. He spoke to the team in the locker room following the victory over Oregon State... James Jones, who is in his 10th year at Yale, is the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League. His younger brother Joe is the head coach at Columbia. The Jones brothers are one of only two active brother duos coaching at the Division I level. Seth and Brad Greenberg are the head coaches at Virginia Tech and Radford.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity