Yale edges Penn in thriller
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.