On Jan. 16 Yale opened its conference schedule with an exciting overtime loss to Brown. Last Friday, however, the Elis seemed even further from besting the Bears than they had on that first meeting.
Yale (5-10, 0-2 Ivy) lost by a score of 77-65 to Brown (6-9, 2-0) at the Pizzitola Center in Providence, R.I. The Bears led for the entire second half and were up by as many as 21 points with less than two minutes to go.
“I think it was the worst performance we’ve had in five years since I’ve been here as a head coach,” James Jones said. “It didn’t seem to me that we were focused enough to win the basketball game.”
Brown’s All-Ivy point guard Jason Forte torched the Elis again, dishing out eight assists and scoring 22 points after dropping 26 in the first game between the two squads.
“I think they have an excellent player in Jason Forte,” Jones said. “I think the thing that will hurt Brown is playing back-to-back Friday and Saturday. They have a very good starting five but they don’t have a lot of depth.”
Both Jones and his players said that given their current losing streak the Elis cannot do anything except concentrate on getting a ‘W.’
“At this point, I just want our team to get a win,” captain Matt Minoff ’04 said. “We can’t even start thinking about championships or winning the league. Right now we just have to win games because we haven’t done that.”
The Bulldogs have dropped eight straight games against Division I opponents. Except for a dominating outing against a Division III opponent — SUNY-Old Westbury — the Elis have not won since Dec. 4 against Sacred Heart.
Edwin Draughan ’05 rebounded well from his poor shooting performance in the first Brown game to score 17 points. He and Minoff were the only Elis in double-digits. The Bulldog captain finished with 13 and led the team with seven rebounds.
“I feel like I’ve been doing better,” Minoff said. “But I still need to do so much more.”
Turnovers continued to plague Yale. The Elis coughed it up 25 times in this game and only passed for nine assists as a team.
Minoff thought that the manner in which the Bulldogs lost the ball Friday night differed from previous games in which full-court presses had hurt Yale.
“What happened last night was a little bit different,” he said. “[Brown] didn’t really create the turnovers — we kind of did it to ourselves. Guys started getting frustrated and tried to take it one-on-one. We got a lot of balls stripped. I didn’t think they made too many great defensive plays, it was more just us giving them the ball.”
Jones cited an even simpler answer.
“A lack of toughness,” Jones said. “The ball was taken out of our hands five times [Friday] night. We just were not mentally tough enough or physically tough enough to win that basketball game [Friday] night.”
Mike Martin, Patrick Powers and Jaime Kilburn all scored in double figures for Brown.
Center Dominick Martin ’05, against whom Brown appeared to have no answer in the second half of the first game, was effectively removed from the action this time around. He did not record a field goal until there was less than four minutes remaining in the game.
“They double-teamed him in the post and we didn’t handle the double team real well,” Jones said. “We didn’t have dribble penetration. We had open shots and we passed up open shots to turn the ball over. If we don’t hit any perimeter jump shots it’s easy for teams to sink in and double up [on Martin]. And he has to be strong with it and not turn it over when he does get it in there.”
There is one thing, however, that Jones knows will help his squad.
“The best cure for us is to get a win,” he said. “I think if we could have pulled a win out two weeks ago, [Friday] night would have been different.”
Draughan also seems to have his attention on the most immediate of goals.
“All I’m really focused on right now is the Penn game [home this Friday at 8 p.m.],” Draughan said. “We can’t do anything without winning that next game. We need to start racking up some wins.”
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