ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yale knocks off Holy Cross

By Bill Cloutier
Assistant Sports Editor
NEW HAVEN – Things probably came too easy for the Yale men’s basketball team on Tuesday.
Returning home after playing national powers Wake Forest and 13th-ranked Florida, the Bulldogs raced out to an early 20-point lead against Holy Cross. Then they put things on cruise control and had to hang on for an 82-67 victory in front of 1,326 anxious fans at the Lee Amphitheater.

Greg Mangano, who scored 26 points in his last outing, a nationally-televised contest against the Gators continued his dominating play. Mangano led all scorers with 27 points for Yale including all seven Bulldog points in a 7-2 run after the Crusaders had cut Yale’s whopping deficit to 63-59 with eight minutes left in the game.
“I wasn’t upset (with their comeback),” Yale coach James Jones said. “I always had a good feeling that we were in control. If it got out of control I might have been a little upset but I think that Holy Cross is a very good basketball team and very good teams make runs.
“If you’re going to be a good team you have to combat them.”
Magano scored on a reverse layup, buried a foul line jumper and then topped the run off with a power drive to the hoop which he converted into a three-point play to give the Bulldogs breathing room. Sam Martin then came off the bench and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the game out of reach.
“That was definitely a tough game for us,” Holy Cross coach Milan Brown said. “It was great to see us fight back in the second half but we played against a really good team and the caught us early and we ran out of gas but we weren’t going to able to come all the way back.
“You can’t put yourself in a hole that deep against a team as good as they are.”
The Crusaders’ one-two punch of R.J. Evans and Devin Brown led the comeback. Evans, a junior from Salem, Conn., whom the Bulldogs recruited heavily while playing at Norwich Free Academy, led Holy Cross (6-8) with 24 points. He turned two steals of Holy Cross’ six steals in the second half into thunderous dunks.
His sidekick, Holy Cross leading-scorer Devin Brown, chipped in with 22 points on 8-for-15 shooting.
But the Crusaders got little else and they never could stop Mangano.
“Greg’s a very good player and when it’s one-on-one in the post I expect him to score,” Jones said. “He was 11-for-14 from the floor without the 3-pointers he missed.”
Said Milan Brown: “(Mangano’s) really good. He was one of the guys we tried to convey to everybody to give him more resistance and I thought he did a good job of making plays over us when we were there. Once he got going you can’t give a player with that caliber of skills and let him get going.
“Can you imagine Mangano and (Harvard’s) Keith Wright in the same league?”
Mangano also had a game-high 13 rebounds and blocked four more shots to add to his school record total of 178. Against the Crusaders he dominated from the start, registering a quick nine points as Yale led 13-9 in the game’s early stages. The Bulldogs then scored the next 11 points to take a 24-9 lead. It could have been bigger as Yale’s Isaiah Salafia picked off a pass but he flubbed on his attempt at a highlight-reel, 360 dunk.
The Crusaders, however, couldn’t seize the momentum and Yale capped a 22-4 run a pair of free throws by Salafia.
Holy Cross, which saw its two-game winning streak snapped, finally got things going late in the first half led by Evans, who scored eight points in a 15-4 run as the Crusaders got back in the game and trailed 41-28 at the half.
“I don’t think (we were looking past Yale),” Milan Brown said. “We were trying to play aggressive but they got some easy looks early and it got them going. You can’t do that on the road.
“You have to be mentally and physically ready. I told them the only way we were going to get back into it was if we played together and I thought we did that in the second half.”
Yale (9-4) has won the past three games in the series. The Bulldogs outrebounded Holy Cross 44-25 and outscored them 40-22 in the paint.
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