With point guard Chris Leanza ’03 sidelined, the men’s basketball team will put faith in a pair of freshmen to run the offense at the start of the season. In an exhibition game Sunday, the two showed that the trust is well placed.
While splitting the point guard duties, Edwin Draughan ’05 and Alex Gamboa ’05 led the Bulldogs to an impressive showing in a scrimmage against Lafayette.
The scrimmage consisted of six 10-minute quarters, with the score resetting at the beginning of each. Draughan was tops on the team with 19 points and Gamboa chipped in 16 in the team’s only tune-up before the season starts next week.
“There was a little angst at the start from the [freshmen],” head coach James Jones said. But once they settled down, he said, they were able to do some “very good things.”
The duo of Draughan and Gamboa will be thrown into the fire right off the bat as Leanza, a two-year starter at point guard, recovers from shoulder surgery. Leanza will be out until January, when league play starts, Jones said.
Draughan, tabbed by a number of publications as the Ivy League’s top newcomer, was good on seven of 15 shots from the field with seven rebounds, four assists and five turnovers. The 6-foot, 5-inch, 180-pounder out of Lakewood, Calif., started at point guard but moved over to the off guard position when Gamboa entered the game.
Gamboa had seven assists to only one turnover to go along with his six for 11 shooting performance.
Scott Gaffield ’04 connected on three of eight shots from three-point territory, en route to a 17-point performance while starting at shooting guard. Rounding out the starting lineup was captain Ime Archibong ’03 at small forward, Paul Vitelli ’04 at power forward and T.J. McHugh ’03 at center.
“Our team chemistry was really good,” Draughan said. “Everybody is starting to click.”
With no one on the roster taller than 6-foot-9, Jones will utilize the team’s speed and make up for its lack of size by raising the tempo of the game the Elis play this year.
“When we ran the court, we were able to get things done,” Gamboa said. From the halfcourt set, “the plays we were running were working and even when they broke down, guys would cut to the basket and we would get open shots.”
On the other end of the court, the team conceded its defensive intensity was lacking Sunday.
“What we need to work on as a team is putting defensive pressure on the basketball — guys playing defense for a full 35 seconds,” Jones said.
The Bulldogs have been practicing since Oct. 13 and have one more week to prepare for the tip-off of their 2001-02 campaign. Yale opens in the Guardians Classic in Kansas City, Mo. They will take on Air Force Nov. 13 and either No. 8 Missouri or Tennessee-Martin the next night.
“I can’t even wait until next week,” Gamboa said. “It is hard for me to focus on things this week — that is all I am looking forward to.”
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