One day Yale will play its best basketball for a full game, but tonight one half was all the Elis needed.
The Elis came out sluggish against Bryant and played to a first half draw. The second half was a different story, however, as the Elis outscored the Bryant Bulldogs by 17 after the break and won 76-59. Although Yale was able to pull out the victory, head coach James Jones said the team could have played better.
“We were not mentally in it 100 percent the entire game,” Jones said. “I don’t know if it was because we played three games in five days or what, but we just didn’t have it tonight.”
Yale has piled up the minutes recently. The Elis beat Vermont 68-52 at home on Saturday and followed the game up with a thrilling 73-71 win at Sacred Heart Monday. In order to save energy for today’s game, guard Mike Grace ’13 said that the team had just a light practice Tuesday.
To keep the players fresh, Coach Jones relied heavily on his bench. Nine Elis played eight or more minutes, and 11 scored as the Yale bench contributed 24 points.
Jones stated that despite the bench’s scoring, he still had to rely too heavily on his starters.
“We can’t have our starters playing 33 minutes all the time,” Jones said. “I’d like to get them down in the 29-30 range because back-to-back [games] are going to be difficult.”
Yale’s slow start allowed Bryant to hang with the Elis all night. Bryant was looking to take a 27-24 lead into the half, but Isaiah Salafia ’14 drained a three just before the buzzer to even the score. Forward Greg Mangano ’12 said that the three helped the Elis to have some momentum going into the half.
The Elis looked like they were going to run away in the second half, but Bryant responded to Yale’s 5-0 run with a six-point spree of its own to regain the lead. The two Bulldog squads battled for the next ten minutes, with six ties or lead changes, before Mangano hit a desperation three as the shot clocked expired to give Yale a 55-52 lead.
The Eli’s dominated the final 6:30 of the game after Mangano’s triple. Mangano provided the knock-out blow with a right-hook in the lane that extended Yale’s lead to ten. He finished with a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds, but he was dismissive of his third-straight 20-point performance.
“On any given night any guy could have 20 points,” Mangano said. “It’s not any one person who is going to carry this team.”
Brandon Sherrod ’15 came off the bench to score a career-high ten points and guard Austin Morgan ’13 also chipped in ten for the Elis.
Yale will take a break for exams before returning to the hardwood Dec. 18 at the University of Rhode Island.