Nov. 12, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - In recent years, Yale has travelled all over the country to play many of the nation's top programs, including games last season at eventual NCAA champion Kansas and Final Four participant UCLA. On Friday, the Bulldogs finally get the opportunity to host a major conference opponent when Stanford becomes the first Pac-10 school to play in Lee Amphitheater. The two teams met last year in California and will tip off the 114th season of Yale basketball at 7 p.m. Free video is available from Yale All*Access and live stats from GameTracker.
Yale will feature a much different look than last year's team that finished 13-15 overall and 7-7 in Ivy play. Four players who combined to start 256 games and score 2,929 points have graduated. Nevertheless, there is talent and experience returning, led by a pair of second team All-Ivy selections in captain Ross Morin and senior Travis Pinick. Friday is one of the few times early in the season that the Bulldogs will enjoy a home court advantage. Nine of their next 10 games are on the road. Yale hosts Holy Cross on Dec. 3 and then won't return to Lee Amphitheater until Jan. 3.
Yale and Stanford are playing for the sixth time, and the Cardinal has won the previous five. All five games were played in California. Last year, Stanford escaped with a 72-61 victory. The Bulldogs trailed by only five with 5:30 remaining before the Cardinal used a late run to seize control. Eric Flato paced Yale with 22 points. Ross Morin added 13 points and six rebounds. Lawrence Hill led Stanford with 25 points.
The Cardinal, who finished with a 28-8 overall record last year, has been to the NCAA Tournament in 13 of the last 14 seasons, including an appearance in last year's Sweet 16. Johnny Dawkins, who spent 11 years as an assistant coach at Duke, is in his first year at the helm of the Stanford program. The Cardinal won a pair of exhibition games, topping Seattle Pacific 97-56 and Cal State Stanislaus 93-54. Guard Mitch Johnson (6.7 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 5.2 apg. last year), guard Anthony Goods (10.0 ppg., 2.1 rpg., team-best 64 three-pointers) and forward Lawrence Hill (8.6 ppg., 4.8 rpg., 74.6 percent from the foul line) will be counted on for the bulk of the club's production. Johnson was an honorable mention All-Pac 10 selection last year and has been selected as a candidate for the Bob Cousy Award, which is presented to the top point guard in the nation.