Despite having three scorers averaging in double digits, the defense, and not the offense, led the men’s basketball team to victory on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (9–7, 2–0 Ivy) held the Brown Bears (7–9, 0–2 Ivy) to 26.1 percent shooting as they topped the Bears 59–51 Saturday afternoon. Center Greg Mangano ’12 put together another stellar performance, tallying his seventh double-double of the season, scoring 17 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and swatting seven blocks. Guard Sam Martin ’13 contributed eight important second half points to aid the Bulldogs.
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A week after a 69–64 win in Providence, R.I., the Bulldogs were looking for their second Ivy League win Saturday afternoon against the same opponent. They started fast as two Mangano shots from the low post gave the Bulldogs an early 4–0 lead. Brown responded with a 14–6 run that forced Yale head coach James Jones to call a timeout to make adjustments. The Bulldogs came out of the break and used five more Mangano points to tie the game at 15. At this point, forward Jeremiah Kreisberg ’14 hit a free-throw line jump shot that began a 13–0 Yale run. The Bulldogs would enter the half with a 30–20 lead.
The Bears came out tough to start the second half. Brown’s Dockery Walker threw down a dunk, closing the Bears’ gap to seven at 36–29. However, Martin, who was averaging less than three points per game, hit a pull-up jumper as the shot clock was expiring to spark the Bulldog offense. A minute later, Martin hit a shot from the top of the key and then drew a charge on the other end. Kreisberg then hit a 15-footer to give the Bulldogs a 44–31 lead with nine minutes to go.
“I think a lot of our bench guys are playing really well,” Martin said. “We’re playing really confident. Every night, it seems like it’s a different guy which is really good for us. And tonight, it felt good that it was me.”
The Bulldogs would keep control from that point forward. With just over two minutes to go, Reggie Willhite ’12 closed out on a long Bears jump shot and spiked the ball into the fifth row of the stands, putting the crowd on its feet. Brown, down 54-44, committed to fouling Yale for the final minutes. The Elis made just five of 12 shots from the charity stripe, but even that meager performance proved enough for Yale to emerge with a 59–51 win.
Mangano scored his 17 points on seven of 13 shooting. Willhite filled the stat sheet with eight points, six rebounds, five steals, three assists and his ferocious block late in the half. Kreisberg added a career-high 13 points and eight rebounds.
“Jeremiah does a great job, and he was a little bit more patient this week than he was the first time we played them,” Jones said. “They keyed on him and we had a good rhythm of getting Jeremiah in the paint and also Greg.”
Brown guard Sean McGonagill scored 11 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and had five assists. The Bears’ Tucker Halpern, who went off for 26 points and 12 rebounds against Quinnipiac on Monday, was held to 11 points on four of 17 shooting.
“[Halpern] went on a big run in the first game,” Willhite said. “We understood what he could do. I’m not going to say that we keyed on him but we definitely had to mark shooters … he can shoot the ball from out there.”
The Bulldogs held the Bears to 18 of 69 shooting and forced seven steals and eight blocks. The stellar defense made up for Yale’s one of 14 shooting from three-point range.
“At the beginning of the year, the guards were carrying us,” Kreisberg said. “When our three pointers come around and combine with our inside game, I think we’ll be a really tough team to beat.”
The Bulldogs will be back in action next weekend as they travel to Princeton and Penn. Tip-off for the Penn game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday. The Princeton match up will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday.