Sports | 6:24 pm | January 4, 2011 | By John Ryan

BOOLA BOOLA | Men’s basketball team in winter slump

Despite the festive season, the winter break was not jolly for the men’s basketball team.

A 71–62 home loss to Sacred Heart (5-8), a 60–44 loss at Stanford (8–4), and a 62–57 defeat at the hands of Lehigh (8–6) put the Bulldogs on a three game holiday skid. They will look to bounce back on Wednesday against the College of Holy Cross Crusaders (1-12).

The Bulldogs began their holiday break on Dec. 19, when they hosted the Sacred Heart Pioneers. Coming off an 11 day break since their last game, the Elis committed 14 first half turnovers and trailed 38–21 at halftime.

“You don’t have the same rhythm when you’ve been off, but I don’t want to make any excuses,” head coach James Jones said in a press release.

Behind 17 second half points from point guard Porter Braswell ’11, the Bulldogs made a charge that narrowed the gap to six with 47 seconds left in the game. However, the deficit proved too much and the Bulldogs fell to the Pioneers. Braswell was the Bulldogs’ leading scorer with 20 points, and center Greg Mangano ’12 had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Nine days later, the team traveled to Palo Alto, Cal. for a Dec. 28 matchup with the Stanford Cardinal. The Bulldogs and Cardinal battled back and forth for the first twenty minutes. With five seconds remaining in the first half, a steal by Braswell led to a Jeremiah Kreisberg ’14 layup that gave the Bulldogs a 27-26 advantage going into the break. Guard Austin Morgan ’13 led the Bulldogs in the first frame, scoring 11 of Yale’s first 13 points and ending the first half with 15 points.

Six and a half minutes into the second half, the Bulldogs held a 37–36 advantage. But Jeremy Green and his Cardinal teammates proved too much for the Elis. Green nailed two consecutive three-pointers and twelve straight Stanford points later, the Bulldogs found the game out of reach. Morgan was held scoreless in the second half and finished with 15 points while Kreisberg ended with 11 points and 5 rebounds. Braswell added nine points and three steals.

On New Year’s Eve, the Bulldogs returned home to the John J. Lee Amphitheater to battle the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Leading 29–25 at halftime, Lehigh put the Bulldogs even further in the hole when they had a 9–2 run to start the second half. Yale was able to close the gap and a Michael Grace ’13 three-pointer tied the game with seven minutes to go. The Mountain Hawks quickly retook the lead behind a Michael Ojo jumper and held it for the remainder of the game.

The Elis outrebounded Lehigh 35–27 and outshot them 43–42 percent, but 20 turnovers and 23 fouls cost the Bulldogs. Mangano had nine points, eight rebounds and five blocks for the Elis. Morgan led Yale with 11 points while Kreisberg and guard Raffi Mantilla ’11 chipped in ten apiece.

“We had a nice rhythm going before the break [for final exams and the holidays], and we haven’t gotten it back,” Jones said.

The Bulldogs will look to rebound on Wednesday as they travel to Holy Cross. The Crusaders are coming off a 77–75 loss to Sacred Heart. Holy Cross is normally led by guard Devin Brown who is averaging 12.2 points per game and forward Andrew Keister who is averaging 11 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest. Keister, however, has missed the last two games.

The game will tip off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Worcester, Mass.

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