CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Going into this weekend, the Bulldogs controlled their own destiny. Now they will not be able to get by in the Ivy League without a little help from their friends.
Yale (17–7, 7–3 Ivy) took care of business at Dartmouth (5–21, 1–9 Ivy) 70–61 on Friday night, but it could not conquer the balanced attack of Harvard (23–3, 9–1 Ivy) and fell 66–51 in Cambridge, Mass on Saturday.
The Elis now trail the Ancient Eight-leading Cantabs by two games in the standings with four games remaining on the schedule. Forward Greg Mangano ’12 said that the loss complicates winning at least a share of the Ivy League championship for the first time since 2002.
“We need some help now,” Mangano said. “It makes it tougher now to win the championship. [But] I’ve seen crazier things happen … We can’t act like the season’s over.”
The game at Harvard seemed an inevitable loss for the Elis soon after it started when the Crimson surged to a 35–15 advantage, but Yale finished the first half on an 11–0 run in the final four minutes to make it a nine-point game at the half.
The Bulldogs started the second half like they finished the first and trimmed the once insurmountable Crimson lead to 42–38 when Mangano sank two free throws with 13:40 to play. Yale head coach James Jones said that the run reminded him of the Elis’ 21-point comeback against Columbia Feb. 11, which ended with a 59–58 win.
“What we did last week was a miracle,” Jones said. “I thought we were there [again]. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think we were going to win. It’s hard to come back all of the time.”
Harvard did not let Yale get any closer, however, as six different Cantabs scored down the stretch to push the lead back to double digits. Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker said that a balanced offense has been one of his team’s best attributes.
“One thing I love about this team is that we don’t have a go-to guy,” Amaker said. “We refer to the go-to guy as the open man.”
When the storied rivals faced off in New Haven on Jan. 27, guard Laurent Rivard led the Crimson with 18 points and guard Brandyn Curry scored only four. It was Curry who stole the show Saturday, dropping 18 just one night after being held scoreless against Brown. Nine Cantabs scored, with eight of them scoring at least four points.
Mangano led the Bulldogs with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for his second double-double of the weekend. He scored 16 points and pulled down 15 rebounds at Dartmouth the night before.
Guard Austin Morgan ’13 paced the Bulldogs with 17 points against Big Green as he hit all 12 of his free throws to overcome a career-high 23 points from Dartmouth forward Gabas Maldunas. Mangano said that the game in Hanover was as much of a must-win as the game against Harvard.
“We wanted to focus on getting a win [at Dartmouth] so this game [at Harvard] would still mean something,” Mangano said following the loss to the Crimson. “We were able to do that and focus our energy toward coming in here and trying to beat them. We weren’t able to do it.”
The Bulldogs have four games remaining in the regular season, with the next game at home this Friday against Columbia.