Just a week after the Yale men’s basketball team held off Brown to open the Ivy season with a win, the only things that remained the same in Saturday’s rematch were the names on the jerseys. Brown came out hot and withstood each Yale rally to pull out a 73–56 victory.
It was a face off that very much mirrored last week’s contest, but the Bulldogs and Bears appeared to exchange roles. Yale (7–9, 1–1 Ivy) fell behind by as much as 18 in the first half before orchestrating a second half comeback that had Brown on its heels.
In the end, the Bears (9–7, 1–1), and star point guard Sean McGonagill, were too much to handle.
The Ivy League’s leading scorer, McGonagill, was contained a week ago as he was limited to 17 toughly-contested points. In Providence, however, McGonagill put on a clinic. The senior racked up 29 points, thanks in large part to seven made three-pointers on nine attempts. Entering the afternoon, McGonagill was seventh in the country in made three-pointers per game, averaging 3.53 a game.
In doubling that output against Yale, McGonagill ensured that Brown earn a split against the Bulldogs for the season series. The home team in this matchup has now won four straight games dating back to last year’s series.
The first half saw Yale jump out to a modest 4–0 advantage thanks to a pair of baskets from point guard Javier Duren ’15. McGonagill proceeded to answer with what was a sneak peek for things to come.
The sharpshooter knocked down all three of his attempts from deep within the first five minutes, feeding off the home energy. He has shot nine percent better at home versus on the road this season.
The Bulldogs appeared to a catch a break, however, when McGonagill picked up his second foul less than six minutes into the ballgame and was forced to sit on the bench for much of the first half.
Instead, the Bears caught fire inside, scoring five layups on the way to an 11–1 run.
Yale forward Justin Sears ’15 extinguished the scorching momentum of Brown with a steal at half-court that led to one of his signature, ferocious slams.
Duren also managed to make some plays scattered throughout the first half, as he led the team at halftime with eight points. Nevertheless, Brown entered the locker room with a commanding 38–25 edge.
The second half saw the Yale squad scratch and claw as they mounted mini-run after mini-run. Whenever the Bulldogs were on the brink of making it over the hump, however, Brown responded.
At no point in the game was this more obvious than a sequence with about five and a half minutes to play.
Sears had almost single-handedly cut the deficit to five as he scored eight unanswered points, six of which came from the charity stripe. Brown had begun to respond, but Yale guard Anthony Dallier ’17 drew a foul on a three-point attempt of his own.
With a chance to bring the Elis back within five points and striking distance, Dallier was unable to capitalize at the line, missing all three. He was not alone. A week after Yale pulled out the victory largely thanks to the team’s free throw shooting, the Bulldogs were simply off in Providence, making 19 of 38.
On the ensuing possession, McGonagill stabbed a dagger into the hearts of the Elis, converting a ridiculous three-point basket despite being fouled by Dallier. McGonagill would knock down the free throw and hit another three on the following time down the court, extending the Brown lead to 15 with just 4:07 to play.
It was a classic example of the senior guard, McGonagill, making the plays that the freshman, Dallier, could not. This was a game McGonagill, an obvious contender for Ivy League Player of the Year, would simply not let go by the wayside.
The Bulldogs attempted to muster a response, but their efforts fell short. Sears led the way with 17 points, receiving little help during the second half —during which he scored 14 of Yale’s 31 points.
Duren added 13 points and guard Armani Cotton ’15 also cracked double-digits with 10.
The Elis will attempt to bounce back on Friday, when they host the biggest surprise of the Ivy League thus far: Columbia (13–6, 2–0).
Tip-off against the Lions is scheduled for 7 p.m.