Early leads do not always lead to victories.
Despite opening the game with an 11-4 run, the Bulldogs fell to the Quinnipiac University Bobcats 62-68 on the road last night.
With the game tied 2-2 early in the first half, captain Reggie Willhite ’12 heated up, scoring seven straight points for the Elis while the Bobcats squad managed just two. Willhite was charged with two early fouls, however, and spent most of the latter part of the first half on the bench. Head coach James Jones and two players said that Willhite’s presence was missed on the floor, particularly on the defensive end.
“Forget about what he did carrying the team offensively,” Jones stated. “He is our best player defensively. When he went out, that’s when they went on their run.”
Despite just 12 minutes from Willhite, the Bulldogs went into the half trailing by just one. Yale held the final possession of the first half with 14 seconds remaining, but Greg Mangano ’12 was unable to get off a shot before the buzzer.
Willhite picked up two more fouls in the first 10 minutes of the second half, which forced him to stay on the bench to prevent him from fouling out. Mike Grace ’14 said that when Willhite went to the bench, no one for Yale stepped up defensively to guard Bobcats’ guard James Johnson. Johnson scored 25 points for the Bobcats with 16 of those points coming in the second half.
Yale tied the game at 43 when Mangano connected from long distance for a three, but the Bobcats responded with an 8-0 run from which the Bulldogs never recovered.
The basket was Mangano’s only made field goal of the night, and the star forward attempted only seven shots in the game. Grace and Morgan said that Mangano’s teammates were unable to give him the ball in scoring situations.
“[Mangano’s] offensive game had a lot to do with us,” Grace explained. “[Qunnipiac] didn’t guard him very well … We definitely had some selfish moments out there.”
Jones added that players took early shots instead of running the offense.
Another key to the Bulldog’s downfall was being outrebounded by the Bobcats. Yale had only 41 rebounds to Quinnipiac’s 54. Jones said that Quinnipiac is known for its rebounding. He added that although Yale got its share of offensive rebounds, it allowed the Bobcats to have too many second-chance scoring opportunities.
Morgan stated that he felt Yale’s guards needed to do a better job rebounding. He and Grace added that the difference in rebounding came down to hustle.
“Rebounding is about desire,” Grace said. “They wanted it more tonight.”
The Bulldogs will play their home opener tomorrow night at 7 p.m. against Lyndon State.