Fresh off of its best start to the season since 1991, the men’s basketball team looks to open the Ivy League season with a victory over Brown this Saturday.
The Bulldogs have won their past two games, but they struggled for stretches against Division III St. Joseph’s of Long Island last Saturday before eventually winning 101–86. Captain Reggie Willhite ’12 said in an email to the News that the St. Joseph’s game would serve as motivation against the Bears.
“It is a classic example of what can happen when you face a team you underestimate,” Willhite said. “It was a great wake-up call and learning experience that we don’t want to repeat.”
Brown is also coming off of a disappointing end to its nonconference schedule. The Bears fell to Longwood 79–77 when Lancer Jeremiah Bowman converted a driving layup with 2.2 seconds left.
Injuries have also hampered the Bears. Head coach Jesse Agel said in a teleconference on Wednesday that he has not had to deal with this many injuries and sicknesses in his 25 years as a coach. He added that he would need his players healthy against Yale in order to battle the Bulldogs’ big men for rebounds.
“We don’t have one guy who can go out and get us 22 rebounds,” Agel said. “So we have to do better as a group.”
Brown has been averaging only 33 rebounds per game to Yale’s 40.
Forward Jeremiah Kreisberg ’14 stated that Yale’s size advantage inside would be key to winning the game. He added that in Ivy League play, his size would be an asset for the Elis.
“Basically for me every game is a mismatch,” Kreisberg said. “I am the only true power forward in the [Ivy] League.”
Outside of the paint, the Bulldogs will have to stop Bears’ point guard Sean McGonagill. He is averaging a team-best 14.5 points and 5.6 assists per game. Willhite said that although it will be important for Yale’s point guards to slow McGonagill down, stopping him would be a team effort.
Contributions from the Elis’ bench will also be essential to a successful beginning of the Ivy League season. Over the past six games, the Bulldog bench has averaged more than 19 points per game. Although both players and head coach James Jones said that beating Brown was important, they did not feel that it means more than any other Ivy League contest.
“[We] play 14 of them, the first is as important as [any other game],” Jones said. “Winning the first game makes the other games more meaningful.”
The Bulldogs will tip off at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Lee Amphitheater.