M. BASKETBALL | Back in the hunt

Sometimes in sports all you need is a confidence booster to get your team back on a winning streak. The Bulldogs will be looking for their confidence boosters this weekend against two Ivy League rivals.

The men’s basketball team (7-11, 2-2 Ivy) heads back on the road this weekend with a trip north to face Harvard (9-9, 1-3) and Dartmouth (4-14, 2-2 Ivy). The Elis look to get back on track after losing their five-game winning streak last weekend with a pair of losses on the road to Columbia and Cornell.

The Elis are averaging 61.4 points per game,but in the last two games managed just 42 and 36 points total. After those struggles, several players explained that offense would be the focus in practice this week in an effort to overcome the team’s two worst offensive games of the year.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well or get good movement on offense,” guard Chris Andrews ’09 said after last Saturday’s game. “We were getting shots at the end of the shot clock every possession.”

The trip to Cambridge, Mass., on Friday night will see the Bulldogs face a struggling Crimson team that ranks seventh in the Ivy League standings. After Harvard beat then No. 17 Boston College in early January, the Cantabs proceeded to win by one at Dartmouth and then lost to the Big Green, Penn and Princeton. The slump has extinguished the hype of Harvard possibly challenging Cornell for the Ivy League title. Harvard is led by guard Jeremy Lin, who averages 18.3 points per game.

Harvard may not be the only formidable opponent for the Elis this weekend. The men’s basketball team will also have to keep their skills sharp for Dartmouth, a team that has just come off of a close victory over Penn last weekend. Dartmouth has been a team that has been struggling to find their rhythm all season having won only four games, two of which were against Ivy League competition.

The Big Green are led by Alex Barnett, who leads the Ivy League in scoring at 19.2 points per game. Barnett will likely be matched up against forward Travis Pinick ’09 in a match-up of two of the Ancient Eight’s best offensive and defensive players, respectively.

There is no doubt that this weekend will be a competitive one for the Bulldogs as all of the teams involved are searching for wins to establish consistency within the Ivy League this season. The stakes are high for this road trip. A sweep would mean the Elis could get back in the hunt for second or third place in the Ivy League, with an outside shot at challenging Cornell. Two losses or a split would leave the Elis in a battle to finish fourth in the league.

Two players whom Yale may be looking to go to early are Ross Morin ’09, who is averaging 13.1 ppg, and Alex Zampier ’10, who is averaging 12.9 ppg.

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