Yale (1-4, 0-0 Ivy) returns to the John J. Lee Amphitheater to take on the Wagner Seahawks (4-2) for the team’s first home game since its season-opening victory over Sacred Heart three weeks ago. The Bulldogs followed their lone victory with four consecutive losses over a brutal stretch away from New Haven in which their average margin of defeat was 18.7 points.
The Bulldogs have had one of the country’s toughest schedules up to this point in the season. Their four opponents have amassed a collective record of 25-2 and were all postseason participants last season.
Wagner has won four of its first six games and is coming off a one-point win at Brown on Wednesday. The Seahawks sport three players averaging double figures in scoring, including senior guard Mark Porter, who is posting 14.5 a game.
Senior forward Durell Vinson is second on the team in scoring, with 14.3 points per game, and paces the Seahawks with a stout 10.8 rebounds per game. The team’s other double-figure performer is junior three-point marksman Joey Mundweiler, who is averaging 13 points a contest. Senior forward James Ulrich and junior forward Jamal Smith round out Wagner’s starting lineup.
Yale was dominated from the tip against Holy Cross on Wednesday, scoring a season-low 17 points in the first half and 39 for the game. The Bulldogs — missing starting center Matt Kyle ’08, who was sick — converted on only 12 of their 45 field goal attempts.
But the Bulldogs have not lost confidence in their offense.
“Coach has been telling us to keep faith in the offense,” forward Josh Davis ’10 said. “We know shots will eventually fall for us.”
Yale could not defend the paint against the Crusaders, surrendering 27 points there and losing the rebound battle, 40-30.
Kyle’s status for the game was still up in the air as of Thursday, and the 6-foot-11 center has not practiced with the team in several days.
“I don’t know, depends how I feel,” Kyle said when asked whether he would play.
With Kyle potentially off the court, other players will need to step up to fill the void in the middle. Last season, the Seahawks out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 44-34, and Vinson enters the game as the 16th-best individual rebounder in the nation.
Tomorrow’s game is the seventh meeting between the two schools. Wagner leads the all-time series, 4-2, and defeated the Bulldogs last year in Staten Island, 72-65.
Wagner was chosen to finish third in the preseason Northeast Conference media poll.