ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Albertus Magnus: NCAA edition II

The awards are rolling in for Albertus Magnus.
On Tuesday coach Mitch Oliver was the 2012 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 24-1 record during the 2011-12 regular-season.

For Oliver, it is his second GNAC Coach of the Year honor after earning the accolade in 2009-10 when he led his Falcons to their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.

In five years, Oliver has registered an overall record of 86 wins and 53 losses as he became the all-time winningiest coach in Albertus Magnus men's basketball history.

Also, Ray Askew was tabbed the GNAC Player of the Year.
rtus Magnus senior Ray Askew (Hamden, Conn.) has been named the 2011-12 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year as well as the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, as announced by the league office. Askew, who became the Falcons' all-time leader in both points and rebounds this season, joins teammate Darius Watson (New Britain, Conn.) on the GNAC All-Conference First Team as well. Additionally, Arshad Jackson (Hartford, Conn.) earned Third Team honors, while Mitch Oliver was named Coach of the Year.

For Askew, this is the second time in his four-year career that he has earned the Player of the Year honor as he was tagged with the accolade after the 2009-10 regular season. This year Askew dominated play in the GNAC as he not only succeeded on the court individually but led his team to a record-breaking season. The senior became the all-time leading rebounder and scorer in Albertus Magnus men's basketball history, while he was just the second player in league history to register over 1,000 rebounds before becoming the all-time leading rebounder in the GNAC.

He has led his program to a school and league record in wins in a single-season, while the Falcons became the only men's basketball team to ever finish the regular season undefeated in GNAC play.

Askew earned GNAC Player of the Week honors four times this season, including recognition from his efforts last week as he was named Most Valuable Player of the GNAC Tournament after averaging 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game during postseason play. During the regular season, he was named to the four times, while being named the ECAC DIII New England Player of the Week on three separate occasions.

Currently in his career, Askew has tallied 2,262 points and 1,169 rebounds.

Askew's First Team All-Conference accolade makes him the only Albertus Magnus men's basketball player ever to earn All-GNAC Conference honors all four years of his career. Askew was named to the Second Team as a freshman in 2009 and since has earned a spot on the First Team every season.

Watson, who is averaging 19 points per game this season, was named to the GNAC All-Tournament Team for his efforts last week during the league's postseason play. As a sophomore, his First-Team selection is the first in his career. Last season, Watson was named the GNAC Rookie of the Year but did not earn a spot on an All-Conference squad.

The New Britain, Conn. native was tagged as GNAC Player of the Week once this season, while currently in his career he has 819 points and is shooting 37.9-percent from three-point land.

Junior Arshad Jackson (Hartford, Conn.) was also recognized among the conference's elite this season as he was named to the GNAC All-Conference Third Team. Jackson is leading the Falcons and is among the top players in the GNAC with 152 assists and 57 steals this season. He averages 12.5 points per game, which is third-best for the Falcons on the year.

In addition to the individual honors of these three players, fifth-year head coach Mitch Oliver was named the 2012 GNAC Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 24-1 regular-season outing. Oliver guided his program to a perfect 18-0 showing in GNAC regular-season play as the Falcons became the only men's basketball program in league history to go undefeated.

Freshman DJ Griffin was named to the 2012 GNAC Men's Basketball Sportsmanship Team as well.

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Greg Mangano's NBA path begins

Mangano Invited To Portsmouth Invitational

Skills Will Be On Display For NBA Scouts In April

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Greg Mangano will have the opportunity to showcase his skills for NBA scouts when he participates in the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational in April.

Mangano, who leads the Ivy League in scoring (18.5 ppg.), rebounding (9.7 rpg.) and blocks (62), will be one of the top seniors from across the nation to participate in a four-day, 12-game tournament in front of representatives from every NBA team. The Invitational runs from April 11-14 in Portsmouth, Va.

Mangano has enjoyed an outstanding career for the Bulldogs. His 210 career blocks are the most all-time at Yale and the third most in Ivy League history. In addition, he is seventh in school history with 708 career rebounds, and his 1,166 career points are the 15th most by a Yale player.

Over the summer, Mangano was a part of the 12-player roster that represented the United States in the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China. In six games during the tournament, Mangano averaged 3.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. The team was coached by Purdue's Matt Painter.

As a junior, Mangano finished ninth in the nation in blocked shots (3.0 per game) and 24th in rebounding (10.0 rpg.). He averaged 16.3 points and was a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection and earned all-district honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

Mangano led the Ivy League in rebounding and blocked shots and was second in scoring. He was the first Ivy player to average a double-double for the season since Harvard’s Kyle Snowden in 1995-96. His numbers were even more impressive in Ivy games where he averaged 18.6 points and 10.4 rebounds, which both led the league.

Mangano was dominant on both ends of the floor. His 85 blocks were the most in a season in school history and the third most in Ivy history. In addition, his 51 blocks in league games were a new Ivy record

He also became the first Yale player since Chris Dudley in 1986-87 to average a double-double for the season.

“Greg has performed extremely well over the last two seasons, and he is well deserving of this honor,” said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men’s Basketball at Yale.

This year is the 60th annual Portsmouth Invitational. Notable players who have participated over the years include Dave Cowens, John Lucas, John Stockton, Tim Hardaway and Scottie Pippen.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Albertus Magnus: NCAA edition

Check back daily for news on the as Albertus Magnus begins their quest for the NCAA Division III men's basketball title.

Click on links below for more tournament information.

The Division III bracket

Selection show

Regional rankings

Here is Ray Askew on the NCAA pairings:

Here is video of the team watching the pairings:

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

James Johnson lifts Quinnipiac over Robert Morris

James Johnson had a heck of a senior day at Quinnipiac. The guard scored 28 points and hit two 3-pointers down the stretch to pace the Bobcats to the 73-69 win.

Here are some highlights and Johnson's thoughts on the game:

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Yale nips Columbia

Yale blew a 15-point lead but managed to make all the plays down the stretch to knock off Columbia on Friday night.
The victory keeps Yale in a tie with Penn for second place in the Ivy League. Harvard survived a scare from Princeton on Friday and is about to close out the Bulldogs.
Penn faces Harvard on Saturday night in a huge showdown. If Harvard wins they'll clinch at least a share of the title and Yale could move into second place all alone in the standings.

Here are some highlights from Friday's win:

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Quinnipiac hammers St. Francis (Pa.)

Let's face it, St. Francis (Pa.) has quit on this season which takes a little steam off Quinnipiac's dominant performance against the Red Flash on Thursday night.
Still, Quinnipiac hit 12 straight shots to start the second half and won by 33 points.
With the win Quinnipiac is still in a tie for 5th place in the NEC but holds the tie-breaker over both CCSU and Monmouth.
Here are some highlights and Dave Johnson and coach Tom Moore on the win.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yale hosts Columbia on Friday

Today at 7 p.m.
Where: Lee Amphitheater, New Haven
Records: Columbia (14-12, 3-7 Ivy League); Yale (17-7, 7-3 Ivy)
Scouting Yale: The Bulldogs are 9-1 at home and sit in third place in the Ivy League after losing at Harvard last weekend. Yale rallied from 21 points down in the second half to defeat Columbia two weeks ago for its sixth straight win in the series. Reggie Willhite had 24 points and seven steals in the game to lead the comeback and also hit the game-winning shot. Yale trails Penn by a half-game for second place in the Ivy League and the Quakers play at Harvard on Saturday.
Scouting Columbia: The Lions dropped a 61-59 decision in overtime last time out at Penn. Meiko Lyles led Columbia with 17 points in the game. Columbia has lost three straight games and six of its seven losses in the league losses have been by five points or fewer. The Lions are 25th in the nation and first in the Ivy in scoring defense allowing just over 60 ppg.
Probable starters
Name, Ht, Year, Pos, Ppg.
Jeremiah Kreisberg, 6-10, So., F, 7.9
Greg Mangano, 6-10, Sr, C, 18.4
Reggie Willhite, 6-4, Sr, F, 12.5
Austin Morgan, 5-10, Jr, G, 12.2
Michael Grace, 6-0, Jr., G, 5.9
Alex Rosenberg, 6-7, Fr., F, 6.9
John Daniels, 6-8, Jr., F, 2.9
Mark Cisco, 6-9, Jr., C, 9.8
Brian Barbour, 6-1, Jr., G, 15.2
Meiko Lyles, 6-3, So., G, 10.5

Off the bench: Yale: Brandon Sherrod, 6-6, Fr., F, 3.8; Jesse Pritchard,6-5, So., G, 1.6. Columbia: Blaise Staab, 6-5, Sr., F, 4.0; Chris Crockett, 5-10, Sr., G, 5.6.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quinnipiac hosts St. Francis (Pa.) Thursday

Men’s basketball gameday
St. Francis (Pa.) at Quinnipiac
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden
Records: St. Francis (Pa.) (6-21, 5-11 NEC); Quinnipiac (15-12, 8-8 Northeast)
Radio: WQUN-1220 AM

Scouting Quinnipiac: After a fine stretch helped the Bobcats clinch a tournament berth, they’ve lost two straight games and fallen into a tie for fifth in the NEC standings. The losses ended Quinnipiac’s chances of a home game in next week’s tournament.Quinnipiac has an RPI of 188 and seems to be a longshot to earn any other postseason berth unless it finishes strongly. Quinnipiac played in the NIT two years ago and the collegeInsider tournament last season. The Bobcats hope to get forward Jamee Jackson (foot) back for the stretch run.
Scouting St. Francis (Pa.): The Red Flash has faint hopes for a Northeast Tournament berth. St. Francis has to win its final two games and then get some help for a postseason ticket. The Red Flash bea Bryant last game to end a seven-game losing streak. They beat Quinnipiac 74-71 earlier in the season as Kameron Ritter had 24 points and Scott Eatherton finished with 21.St. Francis also was one of the only teams to out-rebound Quinnipiac this season.

Projected Starters
St. Francis (Pa.)
Player, Ht., Year, Pos., Avg
Kameron Ritter, 6-3, So. ,F ,5.0
Jon Taylor,6-8 ,Sr. ,F ,6.0;
Scott Eatherton,6-8 ,So. ,F ,14.1
Stephon Whyatt,6-1, Fr., G, 7.6
Anthony Ervin,6-4, Jr., G, 11.1
James Johnson, 6-0, Sr., G, 16.6
Ousmane Drame, 6-9, Fr., F, 6.4
Ike Azotam, 6-7 So., F, 16.4
Dave Johnson, 5-10, Jr., G, 8.4
Zaid Hearst, 6-0, Fr., G, 6.7

Off the bench

St. Francis: Earl Brown, 6-5, Fr., F, 5.9 ppg; Ollie Jackson, 6-4, Fr., G, 6.4. Quinnipiac: Jamee Jackson, 6-7, Jr., F, 8.7; Garvey Young, 6-5, Jr., F, 5.8; Evan Conti, 6-3, Fr., G, 1.3.
 Bill Cloutier

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Derby's Yacobacci excels

Derby's Chris Yacobacci had a super performance at the MAAC swimming championships.

Yacobacci, who swam at Notre Dame-West Haven is a junior and now competes for Iona College. He was the MAAC champion in both the 100 breast (55.69) and the 200 breast (2:00.30). These times were also new Iona school records. Chris also set a new school record in the 200 IM with a 1:52.91 at the meet.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tommy Amaker, highlights of Harvard win over Yale

Friday, February 17, 2012

Albertus Magnus' Askew closing out stellar career

NEW HAVEN – Mitch Oliver had just completed his first season at Albertus Magnus.
Despite going 3-21, the former assistant coach at Quinnipiac had visions of turning the Falcons into a Division III power. He also had the ambition to pursue the course. He just needed some key components to take him there. He needed talent, leadership, and guile. He ended up getting them all in one player.

Searching for the cornerstone for his program Oliver went to see Hamden’s Ray Askew play in an area Summer League game. There were several other coaches in attendance but Oliver predicted what was going to happen.
“I was with (then junior) Byron Reaves and I told him, ‘Watch, they’re going all going to leave,’” Oliver recalled. Just as he predicted the other coaches, unimpressed, filed out of the gym long before the game was over. Oliver shook his head and stayed there, just to talk to Askew.
“Just to let him know I’m still here,” Oliver said. “I saw him play as a junior at Career and I knew he what he could do. He was a very good student and I knew how talented he was. ”
He was the only one.
Askew finished a solid but unspectacular time at Career Regional with not one collegiate offer. Not one Division I or Division II program wanted him. Not even the Division III.
“My career was over,” Askew said. “I never was going to play again. I was just looking for a college to go into accounting and basketball had nothing to do with it.”
Askew, however, listened to Oliver’s visions of how the two of them could turn around AMC. Four years later the duo has accomplished just about all of their goals.
Askew will take a curtain call today as Albertus Magnus recognizes its seniors on the final game of the regular season against St. Joseph’s (Maine) at 3 p.m. He already holds the school’s all-time rebounding mark and needs just 46 points to become its all-time leading scorer.
But the personal marks take backstage to the Falcons’ team accomplishments during his four years. Albertus Magnus is nationally ranked for the first time in the school history and riding an 18-game winning streak. The Falcons have locked up the Great Northeast Athletic Conference regular-season title and are a lock for an NCAA berth whether they win the conference postseason tournament or not.
It’s just what Oliver had envisioned. While the throng of coaches who abandoned Askew, perhaps thinking that at 6-foot-6, he was undersized to dominate inside, or too inconsistent to play from the perimeter wipe the egg off their collective faces, Askew will go down as one of the all-time finds.
He is the Division III version of Jeremy Lin, a superstar than no one else could have predicted.
“I’ve always known that he’s athletically superior to just about everyone he faces,” Oliver said.
Askew’s ascent was meteoric. He helped AMC to a double-overtime win over top 10-ranked Trinity in just his second collegiate start and went on win conference Rookie of the Year as the Falcons finished 14-13. As a sophomore Askew paced the Falcons to a 23-7 mark and the second round of the NCAA DIII tournament.
But last season the Falcons went 18-10 and did not earn an NCAA berth.
“That was a definitely the wake-up call,” Askew said. “After winning the (GNAC) championship we just thought we could turn it on whenever we wanted. We felt that we’d win when we really needed to. That didn’t happen and we learned from it.”
Ready to graduate in May with a major in business administration he is finishing his business on the court with a flourish. He scored 52 points in a recent 76-73 win over Lasell while grabbing 10 rebounds. His season’s numbers, 25.0 ppg and 11.8 rebounds a game could be even gaudier if AMC wasn’t pounding teams so badly that in some games that he’s played as little as 15 minutes.
Albertus is 23-1 on the season and Askew truly believes the Falcons can win the national title.
“The rest of the guys don’t know what it was like,” Askew said. “I’ve been here since Day One. It’s good to get that type of respect but we’re still not done. I just do whatever the team needs me to do. Whether it’s getting every rebound or shooting a hundred 3’s I’ll do it. I just want my team to win and I know we have the ability to win it all.”
And then the sky’s the limit. Askew will graduate in May with a major in business administration. Oliver believes he can play professionally overseas.
“He should see where it takes him,” Oliver said. “Even if he plays for two years overseas, experiences that culture, and earns enough money for a down payment on a house. He can do it. He can no doubt play overseas.”
Said Askew: “I feel that I can play at any level. I just need to get that opportunity. I want to be able to prove everyone wrong.”
Askew said he wants to be remembered mostly as a great teammate while Oliver added that his best attribute is his persona.
“The most impressive thing about him is his demeanor,” Oliver said. “You see these guys all the time when they hit a 3-pointer and how they celebrate running down the court. They spend more time getting their handshake in at the beginning of the game. Ray doesn’t care about any of that and he gets hammered in games.
“He gets double and triple-teamed and he just plays. He doesn’t even change his expression. I’m just so fortunate to have a kid like that to start a program. He’s a great kid and a great student who has taken advantage and we’ll be linked here forever.”
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yale men's squash team seeded third

After making national headlines by defeating Trinity earlier in the season, Yale is seeded third in the upcoming national championship. Yale lost to Princeton earlier in the month to drop in the rankings.
Here is a preview of the upcoming championships from the Yale site:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 3 Yale men's squash team became the nation's first new No. 1 in the Dunlop Men's College Squash Rankings in 13 years in the week following their Jan. 18 upset of Trinity. Now, after a spectacular 14-1 regular season that included wins over seven team in the current top ten, the Bulldogs hope to become the first team in 13 years to assume that spot at season's end, a feat they can accomplish with a win at the CSA Team Championships this weekend at Princeton.

Their road is not an easy one: since the Elis dropped a match to the No. 2 Tigers on Feb. 4, they currently hold the No. 3 national ranking, which translates to a No. 3 seed in the eight-team "Potter Cup" (A Division) bracket. The quarterfinal matches begin Friday, and Yale will take on No. 6 Cornell in a noon start.

The Bulldogs are undoubtedly in the tougher half of the draw: with a quarterfinal victory they collide with the winner of No. 7 Dartmouth and host No. 2 Princeton, the lone blemish on the Eli schedule. If Yale wins that match, a Sunday final (perhaps a rematch against No. 1 Trinity) would follow.

Despite the tough draw, the Bulldogs will undoubtedly be helped by the return of junior All-American Hywel Robinson to the lineup. Robinson has been out of action for the last few matches with an injury.

Robinson will play at the No. 2 position, sandwiched by classmates Kenneth Chan at No. 1 and Ricky Dodd at No. 3.

Playing the four will be senior John Roberts, the match-clinching hero in the Bulldogs' upset of Trinity. He is one of six finalists for the CSA's Skillman Award, "given annually to a senior men's squash player who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during his entire college career" and "considered the Heisman Trophy" of men's college squash, according to the CSA.

Captain Ryan Down will play at No. 5, and sophomore Neil Martin will be at the No. 6 spot. Senior Robert Berner will play No. 7, just ahead of classmate Samuel Clayman, who had a clutch victory to help Yale past No. 4 Harvard last weekend.

Rounding out the Bulldog lineup will be freshman Joey Roberts at No. 9, along with sophomore Eric Caine (No. 10), and freshman Sam Schlifer (No. 11).

Last season, Yale fell to Trinity 5-4 in the Potter Cup finals, a loss they hope to avenge...again...with what would be a finals rematch if the Bulldogs can get there. But with Cornell and Princeton looming, getting there is no sure thing. Still, the Elis have made history once this season and would love to end their season the only way fitting for what has been a magical regular season: with a win.

The Bulldogs' quarterfinal action against the Big Red gets underway Friday at 12:30 pm.

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Another crucial weekend ahead for Yale

NEW HAVEN – Last weekend is already a blur to Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones. His Bulldogs lost an overtime heart-breaker at Cornell and then rallied from 21 points down in the second half to defeat Columbia.
The weekend split left Yale (16-6, 6-2 Ivy League) in exactly the same place it was before it started,in second place and a game behind Harvard in the Ivy League standings. Yale visits Dartmouth (4-20, 0-8) on Friday night before playing at the Crimson (21-3, 7-1) on Saturday at Cambridge, Mass., in another crucial weekend of league play.
“The entire weekend is a complete blur,” Jones said of last week’s split. “You think about playing those games so close together. A four-hour bus ride. We got little sleep and the fact that you play overtime one night and then play the next night.
“We didn’t even get a chance to digest the Cornell game (an 85-84 loss) fully and they’re throwing the ball up for another game. I’m not sure what to take from the comeback in the Columbia game but I know that this team is resilient and they never give up.”
Yale forward Reggie Willhite took over the game against the Lions scoring 24 points including the game-winner in the 59-58 victory. Jones said it might have been the best game he’s ever played at Yale.
“He did what he was capable of doing,” Jones said. “There are very few people in the league that can stay in front of him. We were able to isolate him a little and he was able to do some stuff on his own.”
Said Willhite: “A lot of people were probably writing the season off during the Columbia game. It shows your true colors when your back is against the wall. The loss to Cornell definitely stung. Being down 21 points and staring the end of the season in your face, we had to find something that worked. We played our hearts and were able to get back into it.”
Yale defeated Dartmouth 62-52 getting a game-high 16 points from Willhite. They’re certainly not looking past the Big Green tonight.
“You do exactly what you’ve always done to prepare,” Jones said. “Last week we spent a lot more time on Cornell because they play differently than any other team in the league. This week we spent as much time working on ourselves as we did Harvard or Dartmouth.
“Dartmouth is always tough, especially up there. They’ve played everybody tough. Last week Penn’s Zach Rosen had to bury a 3-pointer from over 30 feet away to beat them. They’re dangerous. We’re very good inside and if we go in there we have a distinct advantage.”
Should the Bulldogs beat Dartmouth it has a short turnaround to get ready for nationally-ranked Harvard.
“It’s the curse of the Ivy League,” Willhite said. “Playing back-to-back nights is always tough but it’s even tougher when you have a huge rivalry game on the second night.”
Yale was embarrassed by Harvard 65-35 earlier in the season. The Bulldogs were never in the contest but Jones feels that his team can truly compete with the Crimson.
“Even in that game, Harvard only scored 65 points,” he said. “So our defense wasn’t that bad, we just couldn’t make a basket.”
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Quinnipiac fires Sparks, volleyball coach

Despite the dismissal of its women’s volleyball coach, Quinnipiac insists the program will continue.
Head coach Robin Lamott Sparks, who was also a public relations professor at the school, was dismissed from both positions earlier in the week. Citing institution policy, Quinnipiac did not give a reason for her dismissal. Two anonymous sources told the Quinnipiac Chronicle that Sparks was fired.
“The University will not comment about this internal personnel matter, except to say that it is completely unrelated to the Title IX lawsuit,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs. “The University will be hiring a new coach and is making every effort to minimize any potential disruption to the volleyball team.”
Sparks was with the team for the past five seasons. During her tenure the team seemingly won as many battles in court than it did on it. Sparks leaves Quinnipiac with a record of 20-133 and went 4-25 last season.
But Sparks saved the volleyball program from the school’s chopping block. In 2010, citing the need to trim expenses from its sports budget, Quinnipiac made initial plans to eliminate the sport.
Sparks, with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, took the school to court to block their intentions.
The litigants contested that Quinnipiac would be in violation of Title IX which states that women should have equal opportunities that are provided for men. Sparks’ side won, eventually earning total vindication as the school was found negligent in its compliance with Title IX.
The case drew national attention as Sparks’ legal side put cheerleading as a varsity sport on trial and contested that Quinnipiac’s fledgling acrobatic and tumbling squad was created just to skirt the school’s Title IX inequities. A U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the volleyball players and their coach and blocked the school from dropping the program.
According to the Quinnipiac Chronicle, Sparks was escorted off campus earlier in the week.
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Yale coach reflects on the rise of Jeremy Lin

NEW HAVEN — Long before Jeremy Lin became a pop culture phenom and burgeoning NBA superstar, Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones began looking into recruiting the current New York Knicks’ guard.
Jones, however, used his connections in upstate N.Y. to land high school star Alex Zampier. Lin, a 6-3 point guard from Palo Alto, Calif., ended up at rival Harvard.
“We got some information on Jeremy Lin late,” Jones said. “Alex had a better high school career. Jeremy was a good college player but he’s much better now but I don’t think he ever scored over 20 points in six straight college games.”
Jones’ team went 5-3 against the Crimson in Lin’s four years. He never would believe he was watching a future NBA legend.
“What he did in college has nothing to do with what he’s doing in the NBA,” Jones said. “He’s playing like an NBA all-star now.
“That would be like LeBron James playing against us and he didn’t play like LeBron James when he was at Harvard. He didn’t dominate the league like he’s doing in the NBA. What’s he done is nothing short of unbelievable.”
“No one in any stretch of the imagination can tell you they saw this in him. He’s excelling at a level that is for rare air. No one is doing what he is doing. The Knicks have tried a bunch of different point guards over the past few years and none of them have done what he’s doing.”
Lin has led the Knicks to seven straight wins. He hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the final second against Toronto on Tuesday night and entered Wednesday night’s game against Sacramento averaging 26.8 points and eight assists since getting the chance to play extended time on Feb. 4
As a senior at Harvard in 2009-10, Lin averaged 16.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.4 steals.
Current Yale senior Reggie Willhite spent some time guarding Lin in Willhite’s sophomore season.
“Knowing what he was like back then and the type of player he is now you can tell how hard he’s worked,” Willhite said. “He just looks like he’s got an iron-clad work ethic. He’s developed into a very good player.
“I’m aware that we play mid-major Division I basketball but you can’t rule out someone that works that hard. If you have talent and that work ethic anything’s possible.”
Lin is not the first Ivy League athlete to make an impact in pro sports. Princeton’s Bill Bradley was an NBA legend in the seventies. Last NFL season, former Princeton quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a splendid first half of he season with the Buffalo Bills.
But they are rare indeed. Jerome Allen (Pennsylvania) is the last Ivy Leaguer to be drafted in the NBA in 1995.
Lin’s quick ascent to stardom is as unlikely as that of former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner who came out of the Arena Football League to win the Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams. Lin came out of the NBA Developmental League, and was just a few days away from getting cut by his third NBA team before catching the world on the fire.
“We have people in our league right now that may end up on an NBA roster if they work hard enough,” Willhite said.
Zampier also went on to play in the D-League upon his graduation in 2010 but played little and did not return this season.
Willhite said that at first he was a bit hesitant to root for a Harvard grad.
“Getting caught up in all the media attention and the hoopla, you know the story that you can’t help but root for him,” Willhite said. “I root for the underdog and he’s definitely the underdog.”
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quinnipiac caps sweep of CCSU

By Bill Cloutier
Assistant Sports Editor
NEW BRITAIN – Central Connecticut State forward Terrell Allen pulled his jersey over his head with 10 seconds still left to play. His expression showed it all.
Allen couldn’t bear to look at the finish as Quinnipiac held Central Connecticut State to just two points in the final 10 minutes of the game on the way to a 67-59 victory in a Northeast Conference men’s basketball game at Detrick Gymnasium Sunday.
Quinnipiac (15-10, 8-6 NEC) has won six of its last seven games to move into fifth place in the conference. The opposite is true for the sinking Blue Devils. Central (10-14, 7-7) has lost six of seven and fell a game behind the Bobcats in the standings. Both teams have four games left.
James Johnson led Quinnipiac with 20 points and Ike Azotam had 15. Kyle Vinales led all scorers with 27 points for Central. But the rest of the Blue Devils made just 13 of 45 shots and star forward Ken Horton was the main culprit. The reigning NEC Player of the Year was 3-for-18 from the field.
Again playing to coach Tom Moore’s defensive demands Quinnipiac held Central to 29 percent shooting in the second half and the Blue Devils made just one of their final 20 shots from the field.
“We have a drill called ‘five stops’ where he have to stop them for five trips without scoring before we can get off the floor,” Johnson said. “I knew the guys had the determination to get five stops and that’s exactly what they did.”
Said Moore: “It sounds like a broken record but we’ve stressed holding our opponents under 40 percent shooting in the second half and we’ve done it for the last seven games and we’ve won six games. We’ve grasped our identity in the past three weeks.”
Central took a 57-52 lead on a long 3-pointer by Horton that brought the crowd of 2,557 to their feet with 10:22 to play. But the Blue Devils got just one more field the goal the rest of the way, a short jumper by Allen. At the time CCSU led 59-54 but they never scored again.
Quinnipiac scored the final 13 points of the game and the run started with a 3-pointer by Johnson. The Quinnipiac got the ball inside to Azotam for two quick baskets and another from freshman center Ousmane Drame. Johnson hit another jumper with 2:28 to go giving Quinnipiac a 63-59 lead.
Horton was then fouled on a drive to the basket. He landed on his tailbone and had to leave the game. Malcolm McMillan shot the free throw for Horton and missed it adding to the frustration.
“James Johnson I thought took the game over,” CCSU coach Howie Dickenman said. “He basically said, it’s my time to prove that I’m a senior leader and he went out and did it and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Johnson hit a huge 3-pointer with 4:15 to play to cut CCSU’s 59-54 lead to just two
Despite the loss, CCSU coach Howie Dickenman was pleased with his team’s effort. The Bobcats won Wednesday’s matchup 72-44. In that contest they raced out to a 15-2 lead and cruised to the easy win.
After that game Dickenman questioned their heart but on Sunday the Blue Devils hustled, dove and even out-rebounded Quinnipiac.
“I was very proud of our effort,” Dickenman said. “On Wednesday night I was discouraged and embarrassed. Today was a gut check for our team. We were good and solid but then we missed 19 of our final 20 shots and it’s hard to win a game that way. We might have settled for 3-pointers but they were open. We also missed a couple of alley-oops.”
“But if we play like we did today the rest of the year we’ll be OK and we’ll make the (NEC) tournament.”
Said Moore: “I tip my hat to them on how hard they played and how focused they were.”
Central came out with much more energy and got 17 first-half points from Vinales. But Quinnipiac went 6-for-7 from 3-point range and used a 21-4 run to erase a 17-9 deficit. The Bobcats got eight points in the first half from Garvey Young but later missed six straight free throws and led just 39-33 at the half.
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Comeback keeps Yale's Ivy League hopes alive

Yale ralled from 21 points down to defeat Columbia on Saturday night. Coupled with Harvard's loss at Princeton, the Bulldogs trail the Crimson by a game in the Ivy League standings.
Here is Yale's game report from Columbia:

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Yale has made a habit of coming from behind throughout the season. The Bulldogs took it to a new level on Saturday.
Reggie Willhite's driving layup with 13 seconds left capped a memorable comeback and lifted Yale to a thrilling 59-58 victory over Columbia before a stunned crowd of 2,442 at Levien Gym.
The Bulldogs (16-6, 6-2 Ivy) trailed by 21 with 11:30 left in the second half.
Willhite finished with 24 points to pace Yale, who moved back within one game of first place Harvard. The Crimson lost to Princeton 70-62.
"Gritty is the only word I can use to describe it," said Willhite, who was 11-of-19 from the field and added five assists and seven steals. "We've shown a lot of resiliency all year. We've had a lot of close games and are battle tested."
Greg Mangano, who was in foul trouble for the second straight night, added 11 points for the Bulldogs. Austin Morgan and Jeremiah Kreisberg both had eight points.
Meiko Lyles led Columbia (14-10, 3-5 Ivy) with 17 points. Mark Cisco scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
It was a Cisco jumper that gave the Lions their biggest lead, 51-30. The advantage was still eight, 58-50, after Lyles hit a three-pointer with 4:20 remaining, but Columbia didn't score again.
Jesse Pritchard's three-pointer pulled the Bulldogs within one with 37 seconds left. Yale's press then forced a Columbia turnover, setting up Willhite's dramatic layup.
"I saw the help side defender turn his head so I just took my man and went to the basket," Willhite said.
Still, Columbia had a chance to win when Blaise Staab was fouled with three seconds remaining. Staab, though, missed both free throws and Mangano grabbed the defensive rebound.
The last second victory came one night after the Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaking 85-84 overtime loss at Cornell.
"Our guys really clamped down and came together," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "It was an unbelievable comeback."
A number of players had a role in the victory. Pritchard's three-pointer was huge, and freshman Brandon Sherrod scored five points and grabbed six rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.
"It's the sign of a good team when you have several players making contributions," Jones said. "Greg was a little off, Austin was a little off but other guys stepped up."
Mangano picked up two early fouls, which limited him to only nine first-half minutes. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Willhite picked up the slack. He was 6-of-9 from the field and had 14 of Yale's 23 first-half points.
"Reggie had a monster game," Jones said.
Yale trailed 30-23 at the intermission.
Morgan, despite shooting only 3-of-9 from the field, hit a number of big shots late, scoring all eight of his points in the last 8:30.
NOTES: The largest deficit the Bulldogs had overcome entering Saturday's game was 13, which they did twice – in wins over Sacred Heart and Rhode Island… The comeback was reminiscent of last year's home win over Cornell when the Bulldogs rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes... Yale has now won the last six meetings with the Lions… Columbia shot 55.8 percent from the field in the game but committed 19 turnovers… The Lions outrebounded Yale 29-27… The Bulldogs are back on the road next weekend – at Dartmouth on Friday and at Harvard on Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Yale's Gobrecht notches 500th win

Yale cruised past Cornell in women's basketball on Friday to give coach Chris Gobrecht her 500th win.
Here was my preview on the game:

NEW HAVEN – Yale women’s basketball coach Chris Gobrecht has never shied away from a challenge. That’s what makes her impending 500th win all the more impressive.
Gobrecht, the 30th winningest active coach in women’s basketball goes for the milestone tonight as Yale hosts Cornell at 7 p.m. at the Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs are 12-8 overall and 4-2 in the Ivy League.
In her 32nd year on the sidelines, Gobrecht is a portrait of irony. She hates to lose and then takes over struggling programs that defy the odds.
Her entire family seems to relish the challenge. Gobrecht’s son, Eric, is a C-5 pilot with the Air Force currently flying missions out of Afghanistan. Her daughter Madeline shunned other offers to play basketball at Yale and her husband Bob has left top positions with the Seattle Mariners, Anaheim Angels and others to be with his wife as she trekked around the country at various coaching jobs. He is currently the President and Managing Director of Special Olympics North America,
Chris Gobrecht is the architect of the family. Rebuilding is her niche.
“It’s funny that I despise losing and yet I put myself in positions where it could happen,” she said.
Yale is Gobrecht’s fifth Division I reclamation project. After turning around a failing program at Cal State Fullerton, Gobrecht turned Washington into one of the elite teams in the nation. The Huskies were ranked as high as third in the country and became a fixture in the NCAA tournament advancing to the Elite Eight in 1990.
She had eight 20-win campaigns at Washington and is a two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Her 1990 win over Stanford, which was undefeated and ranked No. 1 at the time, is still one of the highlights of her coaching life.
“When we beat Stanford it was a huge thing as far as turning things around,” Gobrecht said. “It was like at UConn. Geno (Auriemma) was there around 10 years and there wasn’t much going on and then things took off.
“Stanford ended up winning the national championship that year and we had lost to them by 40 earlier in the season. We were really good but we weren’t at their level but when they came to our place it was sold-out and when we beat them. From that point on the program was off and running.”
Washington won 28 games that season but Gobrecht, frankly, got bored, and after 11 years sought out another challenge. A year later she returned to the Pac-10 to help rebuild the program at USC, never concerned about her personal record on the sidelines.
“I think the win-loss record in college basketball is the most overrated statistic there is,” Gobrecht said. “It all depends on who you play. You see those schools all the time that are 14-2 going into conference play and then they go 6-10 in the conference.
“I think there are a lot of great coaches who don’t win all the time and there are a lot of coaches who win that aren’t great coaches. When you coach as long as I’ve had it’s not that big a deal to get to 500 wins. You can really manipulate your win-loss record.”
That’s something Gobrecht has never done, not at Washington when her team was one of the best in the country and not at Yale despite its inherent academic challenges. Earlier this season Yale played a stretch of games that put them on the road at top-ranked Baylor, No.12 Delaware and at Florida State.
Yale lost them all but their coach thinks it made her team better for it and gave her players lasting memories of the competition they’ve played.
Gobrecht got first-hand experience at how important win totals could be when she was USC. With her team finishing around third or fourth in the rugged Pac-10 she still scheduled difficult non-conference opponents and had to cross her fingers when the NCAA bids came out. Occasionally getting snubbed by the selection committee still burns but she’s never chosen to soften her schedule.
After another fine run at USC, Gobrecht came to Yale and had to start the rebuilding process all over again. Her team went 3-24 her first year.
“I guess I look for these jobs because I’m a fighter by nature,” she said. “I like the underdog. Rebuilding is my niche and I’m happier trying to prove I can do things that people say you can’t do.”
Gobrecht led Yale to a dozen wins in 2006 and 14 more last season including one of the most memorable victories of her career.
“Beating Florida State (ranked 14ht at the time) was the most improbable win I’ve been associated with,” she said. “The game was going on and we were so close and then it was, ‘Wow, we’re actually going to win.’”
In the 38 years of the program it was the first time Yale ever beat a ranked opponent. Yale then swept rival Harvard and finished second in the Ivy League at 10-4. The Bulldogs earned a berth in the WNIT after the season, its first in program history.
Gobrecht said she’s a better coach now than she was when she was in her thirties and said she’s never worked as hard as she is currently doing. She said she still recruits the same players at Yale that she always has but “they just have to have better grades.” She also said she is enjoying herself now perhaps more than ever before.
And Yale gave Gobrecht a memory she will never forget when she coached her daughter Mady for the past four years. Mady Gobrecht was a gritty undersized post player who earned All-Ivy honors last season averaging 12 ppg and 6.3 rebounds.
“It was the highlight of my life,” Gobrecht said. “I always say that she came to Yale in spite of me, not because of me, but I was just thrilled to coach her and it’s made us very close.”
Yale could be her last stop, unless she just wins too much.
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Yale visits Cornell Friday night

Today at 7 p.m.
Where: Newman Arena, Ithaca, N.Y.
Records: Yale (15-5, 5-1 Ivy); Cornell (8-12, 3-3)
Scouting Yale: The Bulldogs hit the road for another crucial weekend. Yale sits in second place in the Ivy League, a game behind Harvard who plays tough road games this weeked at Penn and Princeton. The Bulldogs have won three straight and are off to their best start since 2006-07. Yale’s defense was the key last weekend limiting both opponents under 40 percent shooting and Greg Mangano averaged 21.5 ppg in a pair of game to earn Ivy Player of the Week honors.
Scouting Cornell: The Big Red are 7-2 at home this season and are always in close games. In its last 18 Division I games, 16 have been decided by single digits. Drew Ferry leads the balanced Cornell scoring at 11.7 ppg and the Big Red feature the top freshman in the league in rugged forward Shonn Miller. Chris Wroblewski recently cracked the 1,000-point mark.
Probable starters
Jeremiah Kreisberg,6-10,So.,F,7.6
Greg Mangano,6-10,Sr,C,19.0
Reggie Willhite,6-4,Sr,F,12.3
Austin Morgan,5-10,Jr,G,12.0
Michael Grace,6-0,Jr.,G,6.3
Drew Ferry,6-2,Sr.,G,11.7
Chris Wroblewski,6-6,Sr.,G,10.1
Shonn Miller,6-7,Fr.,F,9.5
Jonathan Gray,6-3,Jr.,G,6.9
Eitan Chimerewski,6-8,Fr.,F,6.6

Off the bench: Yale: Brandon Sherrod, 6-6, Fr., F, 3.7; Jesse Pritchard,6-5, So., G, 1.5. Cornell: Dwight Tarwater, 6-6, So., F, 2.9; Galal Cancer, 6-2, Fr., G, 6.6; Josh Figini, 6-9, Jr., F, 5.3.

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Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore and highlights from win over CCSU

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Huge game for Quinnipiac tonight

Assistant Sports Editor
The quest is quite different for the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team as it heads down the stretch this season. For the past few years Quinnipiac has waged a battle for the Northeast Conference regular-season title. This year they’re just hoping to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Quinnipiac plays host to Central Connecticut State tonight at 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center in the first of two crucial contests between the two teams this week. The Bobcats (13-10, 6-6 NEC) are currently in sixth place, while Central (10-12, 7-5) checks in at fifth place, a game ahead of Quinnipiac.
“We’re in a good place right now,” Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore said. “They feel good about themselves and I’m real happy how we’ve looked defensively lately.”
Central is led by NEC preseason Player of the Year Ken Horton who is second in the conference in both scoring (19.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.2 rpg). He scored 29 points in a recent loss at conference-leading Long Island. The Blue Devils have also gotten fantastic scoring from sharp-shooter Robby Ptacek (18.5 ppg) and freshman phenom Kyle Vinales (17.8 ppg) who are third and fourth in the conference in scoring.
“When you play a team with three great scorers it’s like pick your poison,” Moore said. “We usually play Horton straight up and we’ve had success against Ptacek but some of times we’ve played him he’s been injured.”
This will be Quinnipiac’s first look at Vinales, who scored a season-high 39 points against Niagara earlier in the season, but they do get back the services of forward Jamee Jackson who Moore called the best defensive player in the conference.
Quinnipiac has won five straight games in the series. More importantly, the Bobcats have won four of their last five games to climb up the NEC’s standings.
“It’s been good for us,” Moore said. “As a coach you can preach all you want about things but if they don’t see the results it’s not going to matter much. We’ve told them all along to focus on defense in the second half.
“In the past five games no team has shot over 40 percent in the second half and we’ve won four games.”
There are no easy spots the rest of the way. The Bobcats’ final six opponents are a combined 47-25 in conference play. After playing Central the Bobcats finish with Robert Morris, LIU, St. Francis (N.Y.) and St. Francis (Pa.). They’ve lost to all four teams already this season.
But they’re not shaken.
“It’s not like we’ve gotten pounded by anyone,” Moore said. “We played (the top two teams in the NEC) LiU to four points and Wagner by one. “The guys feel there’s not anyone in the league we can’t beat.”
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Quinnipaic hosts CCSU in crucial contest Wednesday

Central Conn. State at QUINNIPIAC
Today, 7 p.m.
Where: TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden
Records: CCSU (10-12, 7-5 Northeast); Quinnipiac (13-10, 6-6)
Radio: WQUN-1220

Scouting Central:After a 6-1 start in conference play, the Blue Devils have endured a difficult stretch over the past three weeks. CCSU is 1-4 during the five-game stint, averaging five points below its season-average and shooting just 27 percent from behind the arc. Most recently, Central Connecticut was defeated by LIU Brooklyn, 95-80, in New York, a game that featured 29 points from senior forward Ken Horton.

Scouting Quinnipiac: The Wednesday night affair marks with mark the 70th meeting between the two schools, a rivalry that dates back to 1956. The Blue Devils control the all-time series lead, 50-19, but they haven’t fared well of late against the Bobcats. Over the last three seasons, QU has won six out of the last seven games and is currently riding a five-game winning streak. Forward Jamee Jackson, who has missed 10 games this seasons with two different injuries, returned to the lineup last game and grabbed eight rebounds in 18 minutes.

Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG
Dave Johnson 5-10 Jr. G 8.5
Ike Azotam 6-7 So. F 16.2
Zaid Hearst 6-4 Fr. G 6.2
James Johnson 6-0 Sr. G 16.8
Ousmane Drame 6-10 Fr. F 5.9
PPG Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG
David Simmons 6-5 Sr. F 3.6
Ken Horton 6-6 Sr. F 19.8
Kyle Vinales 6-1 Fr. G 17.8
Malcolm McMillan 6-0 Fr. G 2.4
Robby Ptacek 6-3 Sr. G 18.5
Central —
De’Angelo Speech, 6-5, So., G, 1.0 ppg; Joe Efese, 6-6, Jr., F, 4.2; Quinnipiac — Jamee Jackson, 6-7, Jr., F, 8.8; Nate Gause, 6-3, Fr., G, 4.1; Garvey Young, 6-5, Jr., G, 5.4.
— Bill Cloutier

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Mangano named Ivy League Player of the Week

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Greg Mangano had another big week for the Yale men’s basketball team, and it has resulted in a pair of honors for the 6-10 center. Mangano, who averaged 21.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in Yale’s weekend sweep of Penn and Princeton, earned Ivy League and CollegeSportsMadness National Mid-Major Player of the Week honors.
Mangano was recognized by the Ivy League for the eighth time in his career, which ties for the second most in league history. Only Brown’s Earl Hunt (9 – 2000-03) has more.
In Yale’s 60-53 victory over Penn, Mangano hit a big three-pointer and had two huge offensive rebounds off of missed free throws in the last three minutes as the Bulldogs’ scored the final 10 points of the game. He finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
He followed that up by scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the 58-54 win over Princeton.
Mangano leads the Ivy League in scoring (19.0 ppg.), rebounding (10.1 rpg.) and blocks (49).

Reggie Willhite, who scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win over Princeton, was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll.

The Bulldogs have a pair of road games this weekend. They play at Cornell on Friday and then are at Columbia on Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Highlights from Yale's win over Princeton

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Yale holds off Princeton, 5-1 in Ivy

By Bill Cloutier
Assistant Sports Editor
NEW HAVEN -- Yale’s loss to Harvard a week ago made this weekend’s games imperative. The Bulldogs’ men’s basketball team had to sweep powerhouses Penn and Princeton if they were to truly contend for an Ivy League crown.
Mission accomplished.

Reggie Willhite and Greg Mangano both scored 20 points and Yale held off a late rally to defeat Princeton 58-54 before 2,175 fans at the Lee Amphitheater Saturday night. The win, Yale’s third straight, moves them to 15-5 overall and 5-1 in the Ivy League. Harvard leads the league at 6-0 and both teams have eight games left.
“It feels amazing,” Yale captain Reggie Willhite said. “Coach told us before the game how Princeton had beaten us five straight times. We knew how important it was to get a Penn-Princeton sweep. It’s always one of the most difficult parts of the season and to win both of them at home feels great.”
Princeton, one of the preseason favorites in the league, fell to 11-10 overall and 2-3 in the Ivy. The Tigers were led by Ian Hummer with 18 points. Mack Darrow had 11 and Patrick Saunders had 10.
Yale was fantastic in the first half. The Bulldogs took a 32-23 lead into the break despite shooting 2-for-10 from 3-point range. The rest of their game, however, was precise led by Willhite, who had 13 points at the break. Yale’s defense held Princeton without a point for nearly 10 minutes.
“We re-geared after Harvard,” Willhite said. “Everybody understood what this weekend meant, myself included, and we played pretty well.”
The Bulldogs opened up the advantage to a dozen early in the second half but it seemed like they wanted to put the game away from the 3-point line. Yale missed five straight shots from long range in a scoreless span of nearly five minutes.
While the stretch didn’t hurt them much on the scoreboard, Jones said the offense went stagnant and Princeton finally began to chip away. Hummer led the charge scoring 10 straight Tiger points and Princeton eventually closed the gap to 53-51 on a putback by Darrow with 1:08 to play.
“I still felt pretty good,” Jones said. “We maintained the lead for the most part. I just felt we took some ill-advised shots but what’s anchored us all weekend was our defense.”
Yale didn’t buckle and Jeremiah Kreisberg made two free throws on the next trip to extend the lead to four. Princeton, which missed several open 3-pointers in the second half, never got closer than three points in the final minute and never had the ball with a chance to tie the game. The Tigers shot 33 percent from the field in the game.
“Our guys did a good job of staying focused and we did all that was necessary to win the game,” Jones said. “We got a little tight in the second half and we stopped trying to win the game and instead tried to manage it.
“We haven’t been in that situation in games, to manage the lead.”
Kreisberg played his best game in weeks for the Bulldogs. The sophomore forward from Berkeley, Calif., scored nine points and two took charges.
“I texted him last night and told him I have great confidence in him and he was going to have a good game today,” Jones said. “He’s been in a little bit of a haze but he got himself out of it. He knows he’s a good player. He just needs to make sure he has the confidence.”
It was the fifth time in Jones’ tenure at Yale that he’s swept the weekend series against Penn and Princeton. The Bulldogs, who are 9-1 at home, now play four straight games on the road capped by a Feb. 18 trip to first-place Harvard.
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Quinnipiac wins crucial NEC contest

The Bobcats won their second straight game on Saturday night, cruising to a 23-point win over Monmouth.
Here are the details from the schools web site:

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) tossed in a game-high 18 points on Thursday night, as the Quinnipiac University men’s basketball team cruised to a Northeast Conference victory at Monmouth University, 71-48, at the Multipurpose Athletic Center in West Long Branch, N.J. With the win, the Bobcats have now defeated the Hawks in six straight meetings, winning five of those match-ups by double-digits.
Quinnipiac, now 13-10 overall and 6-6 in the NEC, climbed back to the .500 mark in conference play. James Johnson led the way offensively, as the senior guard finished 8-of-16 from the floor, 2-of-6 from long distance, dished out three assists and snatched one steal in the triumph. Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.), Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) and Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) each nabbed eight points and combined for more than half of the team’s rebounds (26). Dave Johnson (Jackson, N.J.) joined the attack with nine points to go along with five rebounds and a game-high seven assists.
Quinnipiac is back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 8 when the team plays host to intrastate rival Central Connecticut State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center. For all the latest news, scores and highlights pertaining to the men’s basketball program, visit

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Yale edges Penn in thriller

NEW HAVEN — A decade ago the Yale men’s basketball team entered its weekend series against Penn and Princeton with a 3-1 mark. The Bulldogs swept the pair of games and went on to share the Ivy League title.
They haven’t won a league crown since.

With the circumstances identical to begin this weekend, Yale scored the final 10 points to defeat Penn 60-53 in a crucial league contest in front of 2,012 at the Lee Amphitheater Friday night.
With the victory, Yale (14-5) improves to 4-1 in league play with another big contest against Princeton on tap tonight.
"This was a huge win," Yale center Greg Mangano said. "After the way we played last week there were a lot of people doubting us, but we know how good we can be. It’s good to have the opportunity to bounce back and prove ourselves."
A week ago Yale made loads of careless turnovers and was hammered by Harvard. While they didn’t clean things up much on Friday night, they won the game with heart.

"The mark of a good team is when you can overcome your mistakes and we were able to do that," Yale coach James Jones said. "There were plenty of them tonight, but we were still able to overcome the bad play with desire."
Mangano led all scorers with 23 points, including a huge 3-pointer that tied the game at 53 with 2:27 to play. Austin Morgan and Michael Grace each added 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Penn was paced by electric guard Zach Rosen, a two-time All-Ivy first-team selection, with 16 points. Rob Belcore added 11 points and six assists for Penn (11-10, 3-1).
The Quakers missed a lot of open shots. Rosen was 0-for-5 from 3-point range and high-scoring forward Tyler Bernardini, who scored 29 points in a game at UCLA earlier in the season, finished with six points on 2-of-13 shooting.
The game was close throughout. Yale broke open a 29-29 halftime score with the first eight points of the second half, but the lead evaporated quickly. Rosen then began to take over and a jumper in the lane gave the Quakers a 53-50 lead with 4:50 to play.
Penn never scored again.
"We wanted to make sure Penn won the game and we didn’t give it to them," Jones said. "We didn’t play well last week and we wanted to learn from that."
After Mangano’s 3, Reggie Willhite picked Rosen’s pocket with just over a minute to play. Willhite’s ensuing layup was blocked from behind but Morgan was there for the rebound. His shot was also blocked, but it was ruled goaltending and Yale took the lead for good.
The Bulldogs put the game away on the free-throw line, but it was an adventure. Brandon Sherrod made the first of a 1-and-1 situation, but missed the second. Mangano got the rebound and he was fouled.
Mangano missed his free throw, but out-raced everyone to the baseline to pull in the long rebound — his 10th of the game — and was fouled again. This time he put the game out of reach, making both free throws.
"I’m very disappointed," Penn coach Jerome Allen said. "Not so much because we lost, but we looked like we didn’t work that hard. I know what it’s going to take to win a title and we didn’t have it tonight."
The same can’t be said for the Bulldogs, who clearly out-worked Penn down the stretch.
"Everyone was singing our praises and saying this weekend was going to be easy for us," Allen said. "I still think we’re a better team and I’m really disappointed to come up short."
Allen said that Mangano made the difference.
"Every time he was open he made the shot, and every time we didn’t box out he got the rebound and scored."
Yale was 7-for-14 from 3-point range in the game. Penn shot 38 percent from the field. Willhite finished with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sherrod, Yale ready for showdown with Penn

By Bill Cloutier
Assistant Sports Editor
NEW HAVEN --Taking a peripheral look at the Yale men’s basketball team one might think that the window is closing on its chances to win the Ivy League and earn an NCAA Tournament berth. With superstars like Greg Mangano and Reggie Willhite in their senior seasons it seems like it’s now or never.
Then you talk to freshman Brandon Sherrod and feel that things might even get better.
Sherrod and the Bulldogs (13-5, 3-1 Ivy) play host to Pennsylvania (11-9, 3-0) tonight at the Lee Amphitheater to kick off a crucial weekend of action in New Haven. On Saturday night Yale hosts Princeton (10-9, 1-2).
“I think our guys understand that our season is still ahead of us,” Yale coach James Jones said. “We still can accomplish everything that we want to accomplish. There was some embarrassment on Friday night (a 65-35 loss against Harvard) and there should have been but 18-year-old kids forget very easily.”
Sherrod is one of class of five promising freshmen Jones brought in last year. They’re all big and have just scratched the surface of their burgeoning talent. They include St. Louis center Will Childs-Klein and guard Javier Duren along with New York forward Matt Townsend and guard Armani Cotton.

“We call ourselves the Fab Five,” Sherrod said. “I’m blessed enough to be in that class. We could be very good in a couple of years.”
Sherrod stays after practice working with Townsend, a rugged 6-7 forward, on his perimeter game which he wants to add to his repertoire. He’s already a presence under the boards. At 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, Sherrod, an All-Stater for Stratford High who helped Choate win a prep school title last year, hunts down rebounds and has strong moves around the boards.
“The thing that strikes you most about Brandon is his athleticism,” Jones said. “He’ a big strong man for a 19-year-old kid. Then you meet him and he’s got a tremendous personality. He’s very well-spoken and has great faith.
“He’a a rabbit chasing the ball. He had eight rebounds in 10 minutes against Harvard and it’s amazing how he goes after the ball. Offensively he goes to his left very well and a lot of big guys struggle going to the opposite hand. There’s no question he can be a big scorer and he puts a lot of time into it.”
Penn provides a major test. Entering the contest undefeated in the Ivy League after cruising past rival Princeton on Monday, the Quakers are led by the high-scoring duo of Zach Rosen and Tyler Bernardini.
“Both teams have two exceptional players,” Jones said. “Zach Rosen is playing as good as anybody I’ve seen in the country. I don’t know that he’s had a bad game shooting the 3-pointer all season long. He made some shots from (near half-court) against Princeton and hit nothing but the bottom of the cup.”
Bernardini poured in 29 points earlier in the season in a game at UCLA.
“You can’t forget about Bernardini. He’s finally has his legs back after all the injuries that he’s had. He’s about 45 or 46. He graduated high school the same year that I did,” Jones quipped.
Sherrod knows the competition will be stiff but he’s ready for most any challenge. He even calls his plight as a kid from Bridgeport going to Yale amazing and he has seen the most action of the freshmen class averaging 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 11 minutes a game.
“I think it’s a pretty good story, a kid from Bridgeport which is a pretty tough city coming to such a prestigious university,” Sherrod said. “To have my friends and family be able to come and see me develop as a player is even more special.
“Becoming a student at Yale was a wild adjustment as far as my time-management skills go because I’m so involved in a lot of things. I was singing a cappella with an all-Christian group called ‘Living Waters.’ I’m also a part of the Yale Faith in Action group.”
On the court Sherrod also continues to develop.
“I’ve learned a lot from Greg Mangano and (forward) Jeremiah Kreisberg,” he said. “I’ve worked hard and I’m happy how I’ve played so far. It’s nice to be the sixth or seventh man off the bench. I’m blessed with what I’ve been given. I like where I’m at right now. My role now is just to rebound and get after it, play defense and score when I need to in the paint. I’m here to provide a lot of energy for my team.”
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Golden, 3 others sign letters of intent

CHESHIRE — The tumultuous child sex abuse scandal that erupted this past fall involving former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky eventually led to the firing of longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
In its wake, several top recruits backed out of their commitments to Happy Valley. Newington’s Malik Golden wavered but in the end still felt it was the place for him.
Golden was one of four Cheshire Academy football players to sign letters of intent on Wednesday. Mike Villapiano signed a letter of intent to attend Brown, A.J. Zuttah signed to go to Dartmouth and Connor Caponegro signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Rhode Island. Coach Dan O’Dea led the Cats to an undefeated season and the New England Prep School Class B championship.
“You can’t pick a school solely because of the coach,” Golden said. “On any given day he can leave any ways. We lost some four and five-star recruits but we’ve still got a lot of talent coming in.
“When I went to Penn State, I saw the guys hanging out together. You could tell it was a family there. That’s what I want. I also wanted to be closer to home. That’s why I came to Cheshire Academy. My mother developed cancer and I wanted to be close to her.”
Golden never imagined being caught up in the Penn State drama.
“It actually was weird,” Golden said. “(Penn State assistant coach Kermit Buggs) came to see me play on Senior Night. He left the game early and no one knew why. But the scandal broke out on that day and he had just heard about it. At halftime the guys asked me if I had heard what happened.
“I said, ‘What are you talking about?’”
Golden starred on both sides of the ball at Cheshire Academy. He will play wide receiver at Penn State but said there is still a chance he’ll see action at defensive back.
Golden grew fond of Paterno in his short relationship with the legendary coach who died on Jan. 22.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Paterno,” Golden said. “What he did at Penn State. He’s a genuine guy and I just think that he went out the wrong way. He still has my respect.”
Zuttah’s brother Jeremy currently plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even though he also has NFL aspirations he yearned for the academics of Ivy League.
"I think I'll be able to make an impact right away," Zuttah said. "I've been working hard the past couple of years. This year I've been with a personal trainer.
I think I'll make a smooth transition even to an Ivy League after being at Cheshire Academy the past two years. It's prepared me for what college life is going to be like."
Villapiano is the son of former Oakland Raider all-pro linebacker Phil Villapiano and will play quarterback at Brown.
"Their quarterback graduated so it will be an open competition and that's all you can ask for. This was a great year. I put on a lot of weight and I've gotten better. Cheshire Academy gave me a lot of benefits that I couldn't have succeeded without."
Villapiano was a big part of the Cats' offense that blew out most of the teams on its schedule this year.
"It was a killer season," he said. "We were clicking. We had so many good players it worked out and it was so much fun."
Villapiano said he got a late start on the recruiting process last year and that led to his decision to play at Cheshire.
"My dad always told me to just play and everything will work out. By the time people were recruiting me most of the scholarships were already taken. Coach O'Dea contacted and offered me a chance to play here and it opened more doors."
Caponegro expects to play H-back at Rhode Island. He is hitting machine according to O'Dea.
"I like my size," Caponegro said. "I feel like I'm where I want to be. Before I came to Cheshire Academy I only had offers as a walk-on. Now I've got a full ride and I'm excited.
"I've played fullback and linebacker and I don't care where I play. I got to run the ball a few times here. Before this I didn't get to touch it a lot and then I'm catching the ball and everything.
"It was great. I loved the coaching staff and campus at Rhode Island."

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