The men’s basketball team will get a chance to avenge a few losses this weekend at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
The Bulldogs (12–10, 5–3 Ivy) will play host to the conference leading Princeton Tigers (19–4, 7–0) on Friday before hosting the Penn Quakers (9–12, 3–4) Saturday night. The Elis lost 67–63 at Princeton and 66–58 at Penn three weeks ago.
After losing 78–75 at Harvard and beating Dartmouth 69–60, the Bulldogs sit in third place in the Ivy League. But this weekend presents a vital opportunity for Yale to get back into the Ivy League championship hunt. However, it will not be easy as the Bulldogs could not take down either Penn or Princeton on the road earlier in the season.
On Jan. 28, the Bulldogs headed to the Palestra for a matchup with the Quakers. A two-of-16 start from the field doomed the Bulldogs. Even 50 percent field goal shooting the rest of the way could not push them to victory. One night later against Princeton, the Bulldogs’ top-ranked field goal shooting defense fell flat, and the Tigers shot 53.2 percent from the field to earn the victory.
Princeton features a balanced offensive attack that is led by a solid inside pairing of forwards Ian Hummer and Kareem Maddox. The two are combining for 27.2 points, 14 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. The Bulldogs’ interior trio of Greg Mangano ’12, Jeremiah Kreisberg ’14 and Rhett Anderson ’12 will be tasked with controlling the Princeton front court. In the back court, double-digit scorers Dan Mavraides and Douglas Davis are 3-point shooting threats as each are shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs know that they cannot get off to another slow start against a team with so many weapons.
“We just have to come out with a bunch of energy and really take it to them and dictate the flow of the game and get ahead and stay ahead,” guard Porter Braswell ’11 said. “They’re coming to our building so we have to control the tempo of the game.”
Last weekend, Princeton swept its New York opponents, thrashing Columbia 76–46 behind 25 points and 12 rebounds from Hummer, and narrowly escaping Cornell with a 57–55 win. Trailing by 55–53 with just over two minutes to play, the Tigers turned to Maddox who converted a layup and hit a jumper to give Princeton the narrow win.
Unlike the Tigers, Penn, the Bulldogs’ Saturday opponent, is trying to break out of a four-game losing streak after winning its first three Ivy League games. Three of those four games went into overtime, including a thrilling double overtime 83–82 loss at Harvard. Last weekend, Penn lost 82–71 in overtime at Cornell and 75–62 at Columbia.
The Quakers also feature a strong, balanced cast with four double-digit scorers. Leading the pack is guard Zack Rosen who is averaging 14.5 points and 5.4 assists per game. In Ivy League play, Rosen has been an even more dangerous distributor, averaging 7.0 assists per game. Holding down the middle is forward Jack Eggleston. In conference play, Eggleston is averaging 17.9 points per game, only 1.5 less than the Ancient Eight’s leading scorer, Mangano.
Princeton is looking for a chance to stretch its conference lead. With three losses, the Elis need to keep winning in order to put the pressure on the top squads in the conference.
The matchup with Princeton is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start tonight. The game against Penn will tip off at 7 p.m. Saturday in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Correction: February 28, 2011
An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Penn forward Jack Eggleston’s first name as Ian.