The men’s basketball team lost their Ivy League opener to Brown last year at home, and this season the Bulldogs returned the favor.
The Bulldogs (8–7, 1–0 Ivy) held Brown (6–8, 0–1) to 37.5 percent shooting enroute to defeating the Bears 69–64 in Providence, R.I. Led by center Greg Mangano ’12 and his 23 points and 17 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the season, the Elis started Ivy League play with a win and extended their overall winning streak to three.
Yale hasn’t been stellar on the road this season, with a 4–4 record, but reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Mangano gave the Bulldogs an early boost on Saturday, scoring 10 of the Elis’ first 12 points and giving his team a 12–9 lead. Three minutes later, jump shots from guards Raffi Mantilla ’11 and Michael Grace ’13 extended the Eli lead to 20–11. But Brown countered with a 17–2 run that consumed four minutes and put Yale down 28–22. A Mangano layup and dunk by forward Reggie Willhite ’12 restarted the Bulldog offense, and the two teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the first half. With one second remaining, a Sam Martin ’13 feed led to a Mangano layup that gave the Bulldogs a one point advantage entering the half.
“Even though at halftime it was pretty close, we should have been ahead by more,” point guard Porter Braswell ’11 said. “Brown got back in the game because we let them back in the game.”
The second half produced more close basketball. Tied 58–58 with 7:15 remaining in the contest, Grace sank a short jump shot to give Yale the lead. Mangano gave the Bulldogs their next six points and a 66–61 lead with less than two minutes to go. The Bears refused to give up and clawed back to make it a 67–64 game with 12 seconds remaining. But in the Bears’ final position, forward Tucker Halpern’s desperation three-point attempt missed, and Braswell grabbed the rebound with four seconds to go. After a quick Brown foul, Braswell, the Ivy League’s fifth-best free throw shooter, calmly sank two free throws to secure the win.
“Any time you win on the road, it’s a great thing,” head coach James Jones said in a press release. “It’s nice to start 1–0.”
Mangano, the Ivy League’s leading rebounder at 10.2 per game, set a career high with 17 rebounds. He also leads the Ancient Eight with 2.4 blocks per game and added two in the win over Brown. Mangano’s performance earned him Ivy League Player of the Week honors for the second week in a row.
“I felt pretty good. I had my touch in the warm-ups,” said Mangano in a press release. “I was working all week in practice on post moves.”
In addition, Willhite posted an impressive individual performance, adding 19 points on an efficient eight of 11 shooting.
“They both had great games for us,” Braswell said of the Bulldogs’ two high scorers. “Reggie brought a lot of energy and toughness on defense. He wasn’t forcing anything and was playing within himself … [Mangano] dominated the glass and that’s huge for us.”
Halpern led Brown with 16 points and seven rebounds. Guard Sean McGonagill scored 14 points and had six assists and five rebounds.
The Bulldogs are holding opponents to 41.9 percent shooting this year, tops in the Ivy League. They showcased that strong defense on Saturday as they held the Bears to 37.5 percent shooting. Furthermore, the Elis held Brown to 64 points — 17 fewer than the Bears’ home scoring average.
According to Braswell, Saturday’s win was esepcially important. Last year’s champion Cornell only lost one conference game.
“It’s definitely a great start. You definitely want to start the Ivy League season 1–0,” Braswell said. “If you lose the first game, pretty much your whole season is on the line for the second game.”
The Bulldogs will look for their second conference win as they play Brown again next Saturday, this time in the John J. Lee Amphitheater. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.