It took five extra minutes, but the Elis were able to avenge their loss in Providence last weekend.
Yale (7–12, 1–1 Ivy) squandered a 10-point halftime lead over Brown (7–9, 1–1), but pulled away in the last minutes of overtime to earn its first Ivy win of the season 76–64. Head coach James Jones attributed the victory to improved effort from his players on Saturday.
“Sometimes as a coach you look out at the floor and you see guys in your uniforms and you wonder who they are,” Jones said. “That was the way I felt last week. Our energy was much better this week, especially defensively — we guarded them much better.”
From the tip, it appeared that the Bears would continue their success of the previous week as they scored the game’s first eight points. Led by two 3s from guard Austin Morgan ’13, the Elis retook the lead with a 10–0 run. The Elis would slowly build on that lead for the rest of the half before taking a 31–21 advantage into the break.
Held to just two points in the first half, guard Matt Sullivan helped the Bears claw back into the game. He drained a 3-pointer, then stole the ball from Javier Duren ’15 to set up a thunderous two-handed dunk on the fast break by center Jon Schmidt that cut the deficit to 35–32.
The Bulldogs were able to stave off the Brown charge with the play of forward Justin Sears ’16. Though Jones said that the freshman still has room to improve on his endurance and free-throw shooting, he praised Sears’ performance.
“He played well defensively,” Jones said. “[Sears] blocked a few shots and helped give us a chance to win the game. He really added a presence in the inside for us when we didn’t have much of one for most of the game.“
Sears scored 11 points in the second half, but they were not enough to hold off the Bears as Sullivan’s 3 with 2:03 remaining knotted the game at 56. With just one second remaining on the shot clock, forward Nick Victor ’16 snagged forward Greg Kelley’s ’14 lob on the inbounds pass and tossed it into the hoop to take a 58–56 lead.
Brown’s Tucker Halpern would force overtime, however, by sinking two free throws with 55 seconds remaining.
The Bears kept the game close for the first three minutes of overtime until Duren came off a screen and drained a straight-on 3 on the pass from forward Matt Townsend ’15.
“It was just part of our motion offense,” Duren said. “Towards the end of the game I tried to calm down, focus on my defense and just let the offense come, so the 3 I hit — it was in rhythm, it was in motion and everything was just smooth, so I let it fly and it went in.”
Duren and center Will Childs-Klein ’15 agreed that Yale’s depth was key in wearing down the Bears. Ten Bulldogs played 12 or more minutes as the Bulldogs’ deep bench wore down the Bears. Guard Sean McGonagill played all 45 minutes for Brown to lead four Bears logging more than 30 minutes.
“One of our most valuable attributes is our depth,” center Will Childs-Klein ’15 said. “Everybody on this team is more than capable of helping us win games. Some teams keep rotations of only seven or nine guys, but we almost always play at least 11.”
McGonagill, who scored 20 points to lead Brown over Yale last weekend, managed just nine points on eight attempts from the floor. He is fourth in the Ivy League and second on the Bears with an average of 14.6 points per game.
“I don’t think there’s a guy in the league much better at using the ball screen,” Jones said. “At least he showed that to us last week. We did a better job at hounding him and making sure everything he got was tough.”
Yale begins a four-game road trip next weekend at Harvard on Friday, Feb. 1.