M. BASKETBALL | Bulldogs pull off ‘must-win’

The men’s basketball team avenged its loss in last Friday’s Ivy League opener, earning a series split with Brown (7–12, 1–1 Ivy) with a 71–63 win in Providence.

Captain Alex Zampier ’10, who struggled in the teams’ first two meetings, scored 22 points to lead the Elis (7–12, 1–1) to their first win in conference play.

Forward Mike Sands ’11 takes a jumper against Brown on Jan. 15. Sands scored seven points in Friday’s win over the Bears.
Charlie Croom
Forward Mike Sands ’11 takes a jumper against Brown on Jan. 15. Sands scored seven points in Friday’s win over the Bears.

“Going into the game, it was basically a must-win situation,” said forward Greg Mangano ’12, who scored 12 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked five shots. “To start off in the league 0–2 makes it almost impossible to reach the real goal of winning a championship. We made adjustments on defense to limit their outside shooting, which was very important.”

Those adjustments paid off, as the Bulldogs held Brown to just 39.3 percent shooting from the field, and just 33.3 percent from behind the arc — a significant improvement over the 39 percent the Elis yielded to the Bears in last week’s contest.

“I think we have to keep playing together,” guard Austin Morgan ’13 said. “We have to keep improving on defense each time we step on the court, whether it be for practice or a game.”

Improvement in play in the paint was also a factor in reversing the outcome for head coach James Jones’ squad. The Bulldogs outrebounded Brown 22-16 and scored 20 points on inside buckets in the first half. The inside effort was sparked by Mangano’s double-double and a seven-point, eight-rebound night from forward Mike Sands ’11. Center Paul Nelson ’10 went six for six from the free throw line en route to an eight-point, four-rebound performance, and fellow big man, forward Josh Davis ’10, scored six points and added five rebounds.

The story of the day, however, was Zampier, who hit three three-pointers and was five for six from the foul line. He also added four steals, equaling Brown’s total on the day.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead, taking a 12–2 lead after just four minutes of play. Thanks to 10 first-half points from Mangano and five from Morgan, Yale held a 10-point lead at halftime.

That lead grew to 16 with just under 10 minutes to go, but the Bears roared back thanks to the efforts of their game-high scorer Matt Mullery and Tucker Halpern, and cut the lead to one with just seven minutes remaining.

Two free throws from Sands and a three-pointer from guard Porter Braswell ’11 gave the Elis six points worth of breathing room, and Sands, Zampier and Nelson accounted for the team’s final 12 points, as the Bulldogs held on for their first Ivy League win of the season.

“Every win is good for this team,” Zampier said. “Every win builds our confidence and reassures us that we can pull out tough wins when we focus and play together.”

Next weekend brings home contests for the Elis, against Ancient Eight rivals Penn (1–12, 0–0) and Princeton (9–5, 0–0).

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