Yale’s seniors have played a combined 300 games in their college careers, but they found a way to make their final homestand stand out this weekend.
The Bulldogs (19-7, 9-3 Ivy) prevailed against Columbia (14-14, 3-9 Ivy) 75-67 on Friday night and followed it up by demolishing Cornell (11-15, 6-6 Ivy) 71-40 on Senior Night Saturday. Forward Greg Mangano ’12 said that the 31-point victory was a satisfying home finale.
“I couldn’t think of a much better way to go out,” Mangano said. “[There was a] really good crowd and great contributions from everybody … We just played really well as a team.”
The four seniors — forward Rhett Anderson ’12, guard Brian Katz ’12, forward Greg Mangano ’12 and forward Reggie Willhite ’12 — were honored in a pre-game ceremony. Then they led the team to its most lopsided victory of the year in Ancient Eight play.
Mangano led a balanced scoring effort with 16 points in addition to 10 rebounds. Willhite scored eight points to go along with nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals.
“[Willhite’s] superman,” head coach James Jones said. “I’m going to get him a cape. He does everything for us.”
Willhite also contributed heavily to Friday’s victory, scoring 20 points while pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out six assists. Mangano scored a game-high 22 points on Friday. Guard Austin Morgan ‘13 had 14 and 11 points, respectively, but the weekend was a team effort.
On Friday night it was forward Brandon Sherrod ’15 who stepped up for the Elis. He also tied his career-high by scoring 10 points — eight in the second half — to hold off the Lions. He entered the weekend shooting just 58.6 percent from the free-throw line, but he knocked down six of nine from the charity stripe to preserve the victory. He said that his success was a result of his extra work.
“It was a lot of work in practice,” Sherrod said. “I try to shoot free throws after every practice.”
On, Saturday guard Jesse Pritchard ’14 answered the call for the Bulldogs. He hit all three of his attempts from beyond the arc on the way to a career-high 13 points along with two steals. He tied a career-high with four assists on Friday without turning the ball over once. Willhite said that the team plays its best when the offense is balanced.
“When we move the ball we can be a very, very good team,” Willhite said. “It’s not always about scoring, it’s about making the right play. When we give the ball up to the open man we get good shots.”
The homestand sweep gave the Bulldogs an 11-1 home record this season. Jones attributed part of this success to the crowd. He added that the players feed off of the energy of the fans at the Lee Amphitheater.
Jones said that he did have one regret about the weekend, though: He wished that Katz — who has been limited to two games this season after having double retina surgery — could have dressed for senior night.
“I’m saddened by the fact that one of our seniors, Brian Katz … couldn’t be a part of the game on the floor,” Jones said. “That’s something you want to think about and have a memory. Certainly Greg and Rhett and Reggie are going to have a memory about that going forward.”
The Elis will travel to Princeton March 2 for the final weekend of the regular season.