All of the attention around campus may be focused on tonight’s game against the Crimson, but members of the men’s basketball team said that Saturday’s game against the Big Green is also important.
Yale (12–4, 2–0 Ivy) plays host to No. 23 Harvard (16–2, 2–0 Ivy) and then Dartmouth (4–14, 0–2) this weekend in the team’s first back-to-back games of the season. Head coach James Jones said that there is the possibility of a letdown in the second game.
“As a coach I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried,” Jones said. “You try to think about just one game at a time, but since the games are in such close proximity to each other … [I am] worried about guys not having the same energy.”
Forward Greg Mangano ’12 — who leads the Elis with 19.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game — added that beating Harvard but then losing to Dartmouth the next night would nullify the victory because of the significance of each game in the Ancient Eight.
Jones emphasized that the Bulldogs’ size would be an advantage this weekend. He added that the Elis are most effective offensively when they work the ball inside the paint.
“Our game plan is always to go inside,” Jones said. “We try to do that every single game, and we are better when we do that.”
The Twin Towers of Mangano and center Jeremiah Kreisberg ’14, who both check in at 6’10”, create matchups that neither the Crimson or Big Green can match.
While Jones said that he thought Yale matched up well defensively with archrival Harvard, he expressed concern about a stingy Crimson defense that allows the fourth-fewest points per game in Division I.
Guard Jesse Pritchard ’14, however, said that the issue is to make sure Yale dictates the pace of the game.
“The key to most games for us is playing our style of basketball,” Pritchard said. “If we take care of business we can win most games.”
However, it would be hard for them to deny the excitement surrounding tonight’s game. Tickets have been sold out for three weeks, but free student tickets will be made available today starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Ray Tompkins House ticket office. Jones said that he has told his players to stay focused through the hype, but that does not mean that the players are not enthused.
“My grandma and grandpa are coming,” Pritchard said. “It’s the first time my family has come to a game, so I’m excited.”
Tipoff for both Friday and Saturday will be at 7 p.m.