Down by three with 15 seconds to go, the men’s basketball team (0–2) had one last chance to upset Big East contender Providence (3–0).
As time expired, forward Greg Mangano ’12 attempted a three-point shot but missed, ending the Bulldogs’ hopes of an upset as they fell to Providence 58–55 Monday night in Rhode Island. The Bulldogs trailed for most of the first half, but made a run to close the gap in the second, setting up the chance to win on the last possession.
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After the initial tipoff, Mangano and Austin Morgan ’13 both scored on layups to give Yale a 4–2 lead, but Providence quickly took control with a 17–7 run.
Providence maintained its first-half lead thanks to the strong play of forward and center Bilal Dixon, who tallied seven points and seven rebounds in the period.
“We got down at the start of the game,” point guard Porter Braswell ’11 said. “In the first half, it’s not like we came out flatfooted. These Big East teams are really athletic.”
To start the second half, Providence’s Vincent Council made two free throws, and Marshon Brooks added two points on a layup to extend the Friars’ lead to 13, but two three-pointers from Braswell shrank the Yale deficit to seven. Providence responded with two field goals, but Mangano added a layup and Morgan drilled two more threes to further cut the Friars’ lead down to four. Mangano then hit a three-pointer of his own to pull the Elis to within one point of Providence. A Friar free throw extended the lead to two, but Morgan, after a foul was called on a made layup, converted a three-point play to give the Bulldogs their first lead since 17:12 remaining in the first half.
“We made shots and got stops,” head coach James Jones said of the Bulldogs’ run.
The Bulldogs were able to extend their lead to 49–43 thanks to four Braswell free throws and layups from Mangano and Reggie Willhite ’12. Providence responded by rolling off eight straight points and taking a two-point lead. A Willhite dunk evened things up, but Council sank two free throws to give the Friars a two-point lead with just over three minutes remaining. However, Jesse Pritchard ’14 scored the first points of his college career by drilling a three to give the Bulldogs a 54–53 lead. The Friars went on a 5–1 run to extend their lead to 58–55, capped by a pair of free throws from Brooks. After Brooks’ second free throw, the Bulldogs called a timeout with 19 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, Mangano attempted a three as time expired, but his shot was off target.
Although giving up a six point lead with seven minutes remaining was disappointing for the Elis, Yale improved defensively from Saturday’s matchup against Quinnipiac. After allowing 84 points to the Bobcats on Saturday, they held Providence to 58 points on 39 percent shooting.
“We should have held them to 48,” Braswell said. “We played aggressive defense. We did a good job limiting them to one shot.”
Braswell finished the game with 13 points while Morgan added 16. Mangano added 11 points and 9 rebounds. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 33 percent from the field. Providence had two players with double-doubles. Dixon ended the night with 10 points and 14 boards, and Brooks finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Council contributed 18 points.
Despite their two opening losses, Braswell said it is still early in the season, and the team still has time to improve before Ivy League play begins in January.
“I think that we played pretty well but we made some mistakes at the end,” Morgan said. “We have some building blocks for the next game.”
The Bulldogs will visit Boston College Thursday night at 7 p.m.