While Yale’s campus buzzed with excitement over the men’s hockey games at Ingall’s Rink this weekend, the men’s basketball team went on the road with a chance to boost its conference record early in the Ivy League season. But the Bulldog faithful found little relief from the hockey team’s 6–2 loss to No. 2 Quinnipiac, as the basketball team dropped games to nemesis Harvard and bottom-feeder Dartmouth.
On Friday, a spirited second-half comeback by the Bulldogs fell short as they lost 67–64 to the Crimson in Boston. The next night against Dartmouth, though forward Matt Townsend ’15 scored a career-high 16 points against the Big Green in Hanover, the Bulldogs dropped the contest 71–62.
“We need to have the same sense of urgency when we’re trying to come back at the end of the game in the first five or 10 minutes of the game,” captain Sam Martin ’13 said. “Sometimes I don’t think we do that.”
The Bulldogs certainly dug themselves into a hole early on Friday. Behind a 10-point first half effort from Crimson guard Wesley Saunders, Harvard opened up a 13-point lead on Yale going into halftime. The Crimson also drained six 3-pointers in the opening half, including three from captain Laurent Rivard.
“In the first half we weren’t guarding the perimeter very well,” Townsend said.
The Bulldogs increased their intensity in the second half, outscoring the Crimson by 10 points in the period, but their effort fell just short. With 19 seconds remaining in the game, guard Armani Cotton ’15 converted a lay-up to cut Harvard’s lead to three at 63–60. But as the Crimson players made their free throws down the stretch, the Elis were unable to get any closer.
“It’s always a tough place to play, especially when it’s us playing there,” Martin said. “It was a tough game, but it was a fun place to play.”
Although the close loss to rival Harvard certainly stung the Bulldogs, perhaps the more troubling result came the next night in Hanover. The Elis faced a Dartmouth squad that features only one upperclassman on its roster and that had won only one conference game in the last three years prior to Saturday’s matchup.
Yet the Elis were dominated from start to finish by the Big Green in the nine-point loss. The Bulldogs ended the first half down seven points, 27–20, and the Dartmouth lead ballooned to as many as 15 points in the second half. Forward Gabas Maldunas led the Big Green in scoring, tallying 16 points off the bench.
While the Bulldogs generated open shot attempts, Martin said the team was unable to convert its chances. The team missed 19 of its 24 3-point attempts, including eight misses by sharp-shooting guard Austin Morgan ’13.
“As a team we relied a little too much on our 3-point shots,” Morgan said.
Morgan added that the Elis must look to pass more to its scorers in the paint on the second game of back-to-back contests, as shooters’ legs tire by the second contest.
The Bulldogs will try to rebound next week with another set of games on the road. The team will take on Penn on Friday before challenging Princeton on Saturday.