Bulldogs must slow down game

Brown vs. Yale



Prediction:

Yale 70, Brown 64



Backcourt:

Brown’s Jason Forte certainly won round one last Friday with his 26-point, six-rebound, and four-assist performance that earned him Ivy League Player of the Week honors. The returning first-team All-Ivy point guard will be the best player on the floor this Friday, but his partner, Mike Martin, doesn’t add much to the mix. Martin scored just three points in his 40 minutes last Friday and has not looked to shoot much during the majority of the season to date.

Yale’s starting backcourt of Alex Gamboa ’05 and Edwin Draughan ’05 is far more balanced. Gamboa averages 8.3 points per game to go with his team-leading 4.4 assists. Draughan is the second most prolific scorer on the Bulldog squad with 11.4 points each contest.

Draughan and Gamboa were outclassed last Friday as the duo shot a combined four for 21. If they can match Forte — and just make sure Martin doesn’t suddenly come up with a productive offensive game — Yale should be in good shape.

Edge: Even



Frontcourt:

Yale has to win this battle if they are to come out of Providence with a victory. Fortunately for the Elis, they have the definite advantage. Even a hobbled Dominick Martin ’05 still came up with 10 points and seven rebounds in only 16 minutes of action. Paul Vitelli ’04 torched Brown for 22 points and nine rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.

Yes, the Bears’ Jaime Kilburn is a decent replacement for departed All-Ivy center Alai Nuualiitia — his 22 points and two blocks proved that. But if Justin Simon ’04 plays the way he normally does, and not how he did last Friday, and Yale’s Martin is healthy, the duo should be able to get Kilburn in foul trouble. Frankly, it didn’t look like Brown could do a whole lot to keep Yale off the glass or to keep Martin’s half-hook from the basket.

There is, of course, Patrick Powers and his 3-point daggers, which crushed the Elis in last weekend’s overtime. Powers was four of eight from deep and finished with 21 points. But whatever he is, he’s far from Earl Hunt, whose position he has taken over this season, and is not as good a shooter as he seemed to be on Friday. For the year, Powers is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range, averaging 13.1 points per game, and converting a mere 39 percent of his field goals.

Edge: Yale



Keys to the game:

Yale should make an effort to get Brown’s starters, particularly the team’s big men, into foul trouble. Why? Yale has the far superior bench.

This is a no-brainer, as it often is with Yale’s squad. Whether having a bench that is so involved in the game is good or not is open for debate. But no one can deny that the Elis are deeper than most Ivy League squads.

Brown is no exception. The Bears, in fact, epitomize bench deficiency as witnessed by the fact that only six Brown players logged over seven minutes against Yale.

No turnovers! As my high school basketball coach used to write on the blackboard before every game, “TCB” – Take Care of the Ball. I always used to think that was easier said than done, but there are steps the Elis can take to avoid costly turnovers.

It pains me to say it, but Yale should slow the game down. With Brown weak inside, the primary offensive options have to be Martin, Vitelli, and Simon. Even though a good number of Yale’s turnovers come from the half-court set, a slower tempo might calm the Elis and make each possession more meaningful.

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