New Haven, Conn. – Yale rallied for a 68-64 win over the Bears in the Ivy League opening game for both teams at John J. Lee Amphitheater Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs out-scored the Bears, 13-3, in the game's final 3:10 to dash Brown's upset bid. The win lifts Yale to 11-4 overall, 1-0 Ivy, while Brown falls to 5-12, 0-1 in the Ivy League
Brown held a six-point lead, 61-55, with 3:12 remaining when junior Andrew McCarthy grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a lay-up. A trey by Austin Morgan and a dunk by Reggie Willhite pulled the Bulldogs to within one point, 61-60.
Yale grabbed its first lead since the opening minutes, 62-61, when Willhite connected on a short jump shot with 59 seconds remaining. Two free throws by Michael Grace gave Yale a 64-61 lead with 32 seconds left, and four free throws by Morgan extended Yale's lead to 68-61. A trey by Brown's Stephen Albrecht with two seconds remaining accounted for the final score.
The Bears were looking to get off to a fast start in the first game of the Ivy League's 14-game regular season playoff for the league title. The Ivy League is the nation's lone conference without a post-season tournament to decide its NCAA Tournament bid selection.
Brown sophomore guard Sean McGonagill scored 16 of his game high 23 points in the first half. He connected on 9 of 16 field goals, including 4 of 6 from behind the three-point arc. Junior Matt Sullivan had 16 points for the Bears by hitting 4 of 7 treys, while juniors Albrecht (12 points on four treys) and Andrew McCarthy (10 points) also scored in double figures.
Morgan led Yale with 18 points with his clutch trey and free throw shooting down the stretch making the difference. Yale's 6-10 All-Ivy center, Greg Mangano, was held to 15 points and four rebounds by a swarming Brown defense. Willhite completed the game with 12 points.
Brown jumped out to an early seven point lead, 19-11, on a three-point barrage, three by Albrecht, and one each by Sullivan, McGonagill and junior Tellef Lundevall with 10:41 left in the half.
The determined Bears extended their first half lead to 11 points, 25-14, on a lay-up by McGonagill with eight minutes left.
Brown held a 38-31 lead at the half behind McGonagill's 16 first half points. But the Bears were in terrible foul-trouble with its top three big men, McCarthy, sophomore Dockery Walker and junior Tyler Ponticelli, all with three fouls. The Bears were called for 15 first half fouls with Yale just six. Ponticelli and Walker eventually fouled out with over six minutes remaining.
McCarthy's lay-up with 17:00 left in the game gave the Bears a 10-point lead, 45-35. The Elis battled back and trailed by just three points, 54-51, with 5:25 remaining on a lay-up by Brandon Sherrod.
Brown and Yale will face each other again next Saturday, January 21, this time in Providence at Pizzitola Sports Center. Tip-off is at 2:00 p.m.