Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Yale lives dangerously one time too many

February 19, 2012 Columns No Comments

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Yale’s luck may have run out on Saturday night, and with it, their chance of an Ivy League title. They have battled back all season long, but finally dug themselves a hole they couldn’t dig out of in a 66-51 loss at Harvard with first place on the line.

You might say Yale had gotten used to playing from behind. Last Saturday’s phenomenal comeback win at Columbia, where they trailed by 21 with 11:30 left in the second half, was the sixth time this season the Bulldogs have won despite trailing at the half. But that’s a dangerous way to play, and no matter how many times you have success, if you play with fire enough you will soon get burned.

“It’s hard to come from behind all the time,” said head coach James Jones.

On Saturday, Harvard ran out to a 35-15 lead in the first half. It was as much the offense Yale was running as Harvard’s defense, as the Bulldogs didn’t always make good decisions but only turned the ball over twice. Harvard then ran good offense to get the lead up. Yale scored the last 11 points of the half to put themselves within striking distance. At that point, it was manageable, and Yale cut into the lead even more early in the second half.

“We felt like, we can do this,” Jones said of how the team felt at the half. “We made an adjustment, and we stopped them from driving the ball. We felt good about it, win the first five minutes and you’re there.”

It looked like a familiar script for Yale, much as the first half looked familiar for Harvard, who blew out the Bulldogs in New Haven just three weeks earlier. But after Reggie Willhite got in foul trouble, the Bulldogs looked like they might have run out of gas. Harvard got the lead back into double digits with under nine minutes to play, and it remained there for most of the remainder of the game.

It wasn’t how Greg Mangano, who did all he could with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots, thought it would wind up at one point. But he knows that allowing Harvard a 20-point lead was not how you win a game, especially at Lavietes Pavilion.

“We came in pretty confident going into the second half, and at one point in the second half cut it down to four,” said the senior big man. “I thought we were going to win it there.”

Turnovers have plagued Yale often, but not on Saturday night as they gave the ball away a season-low seven times. The issue was the shots they got, as they shot just 33.3 percent from the field, while their defense didn’t help as Harvard shot nearly 58 percent. Add in Harvard winning the rebounding battle by a decisive 33-22 margin – the Bulldogs came in out-rebounding opponents by just over six per game – and one sees that the Bulldogs did several things to lose this game.

To Jones, the last statistic might have stood out as much as any.

“We didn’t win the rebounding battle, we lost the game,” said the Yale mentor. “We weren’t physical enough, we lost the game, bottom line.”

Evidence enough that the offense was one culprit came in a stat Jones noted after the game. Yale was 15-23 at the free throw line, while Harvard only attempted 14 free throws.

“There were times when we didn’t get good shots on offense,” said Jones. “I think when we got the ball inside and took it to the basket, we were pretty good.”

Yale has trailed at halftime in more than half of their games this season, as Saturday was the 12th time in 23 games that was the case. Their record is now even in that scenario, but the fact that they have won even half of those games is a testament to the team’s ability to play from behind and is a little remarkable. Now, though, they’re playing from behind in the standings, and in such a way that they can’t successfully complete it all by themselves. They need help, and that’s not the position they want to be in.

Comment on this Article:

Like Hoopville on Facebook


Your Phil of Hoops

New challenge ahead for Harvard

October 6, 2015 by


If Harvard’s great run through the Ivy League is to continue in 2015-16, the Crimson will have to get through quite a challenge this time around with a team that looks a little different.

Can this be the Army team that finally wins a Patriot League title?

September 24, 2015 by


Army was on a nice rise with its core up until Patriot League play last season, when they came back to earth. Now with a core of seniors, can this team be the one that finally takes home a Patriot League title?

Romar, Washington may successfully reboot once again

August 27, 2015 by


There has been some notable downward momentum at Washington recently, but there is more hope all the time that it could be reversed, and soon.

Hoopville Archives

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed listening to COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT, a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, joined by former St. John's and George Washington head coach Mike Jarvis, former Fairfield head coach Terry O'Connor and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

Here are links to the shows:

March 15, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 22, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

March 29, 2015 - First hour | Second hour

April 5, 2015 - First hour | Second hour | Third hour

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by


The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.

2015 Hoopville Spring Finale Notes

June 30, 2015 by


We look back at more from the 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale, where some of the championship games were worth the price of admission.

A big championship day for a local program at the Hoopville Spring Finale

June 23, 2015 by


The 2015 Hoopville Spring Finale saw a number of good championship games on Sunday to close it out, and we start our look back with a look at those games.

Player highlights from Mass Elite and Boston Warriors college showcase

June 4, 2015 by


Two big programs, Mass Elite and the Boston Warriors, got together once again on a college showcase for many of their high school players. We look at some who stood out on the evening.

2015 Massachusetts AAU Tournament notes

June 3, 2015 by


Massachusetts held its AAU championship rounds in a few age groups and its entire tournament for the oldest age group this weekend. We take a look at some of Sunday’s action in Foxboro.