Poor shooting from behind the arc and at the free throw line proved fatal for the men’s basketball team Friday night as the Bulldogs dropped their Ivy League opener to Brown at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
Although the Elis (6–12, 0–1 Ivy) had four players in double figures, compared to Brown’s three, Yale made only three of 18 three-point attempts and shot just 11–18 from the foul line en route to a 75–66 loss to the Bears (7–11, 1–0).
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“We didn’t execute as well as they did,” guard Jordan Gibson ’10 said. “We have to make open shots and layups.”
Forward Mike Sands ’11 led the home team with 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting and eight rebounds, while captain and leading scorer Alex Zampier ’10 struggled from the field on the day, making only three of his first 13 shots on his way to a 14-point effort.
The Bears jumped out to an 11–4 lead in the first five minutes, but baskets from center Paul Nelson ’10 and Gibson cut the lead to three with nine minutes to go in the first half. Brown’s lead hovered around three for the next seven minutes, despite Zampier’s five points over that span.
With 55 seconds to go in the half, Gibson cut the Bears’ lead to just one with an emphatic dunk off a fast break. A three-pointer from guard Michael Grace ’13 sent the Elis to the locker room with all the momentum. It was Yale’s first lead since the Bulldogs had scored the game’s opening basket.
The Bulldogs built their lead to five in the first three minutes of the second half, but Brown came roaring back, going on a 6–0 run in the next 50 seconds to take a one-point lead with 15 minutes to go.
“We were able to build a bigger lead coming out of halftime, and we did have momentum going our way, but we started making mistakes,” forward Greg Mangano ’12 said. “Our offense stalled and more importantly we had lapses on defense and allowed them to come back and take the lead.”
A layup from Nelson handed the lead back to Yale, but three free throws by Brown’s Adrian Williams put the Bears back on top. A Gibson jumper quickly knotted things back up at 43, but Brown opened up a 50–45 lead with 12 minutes to go thanks to two baskets and a three pointer. That lead was 10 by the 10-minute mark, but Sands scored the game’s next five points to cut the gap in half.
That was as close as Yale would get, as the Bears were able to build their lead to 12 with two minutes to go. Grace and Zampier added late points, but the damage was done.
“In order to win games we have to run our offense better and play tougher defense,” guard Porter Braswell ’11 said. “We always put forth the effort it takes to win physically, but sometimes we aren’t there mentally.”
Brown outscored the Elis 46–35 in the second half.
The Bulldogs will get their chance at revenge this Friday, when they travel to Providence for a second matchup with the Bears. Matchups with Penn and Princeton will follow the next weekend as Yale continues its Ivy League season.