Brown Eliminated from Ivy League Tournament Contention in Regular Season Finale
The Brown men’s basketball team fell to Yale 84-75 on Senior Night Saturday night at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The Bulldogs claimed a share of the regular season Ivy Title with the win, while the Bears missed qualifying for Ivy Madness with the loss.
“I thought Yale played well and they made a lot of tough shots,” head coach Mike Martin ’04 said. “We have to credit them. They’re a good team and congratulations to them.
“In terms of our team, obviously we had some great moments. We had some guys stepping into roles that maybe we didn’t envision at the beginning of the year. Like I said to them [in the locker room], while you don’t expect it to go this way, we expect a different result, it doesn’t take away from our growth and how much we’ve improved from the beginning of the season. You can’t take that away.
“You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it. Our guys did a good job all year, just blow after blow, responding to what came at us.”
Senior Paxson Wojcik set another career-high with 25 points in his final game with the Bears, barring any postseason action. He added eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
“I try to lay it out there every time we go out,” Wojcik said. “But I thought it was a really great team effort, we just came up a little bit short.”
Kino Lilly Jr. had 18 and a career-high seven rebounds. Dan Friday posted 16 points, eight boards, and four assists.
Yale started the game fast as the visitors jumped out to a 10-2 lead before the first media timeout. Brown battled to make up the difference, but the Bulldogs eventually held their largest lead of the half, and the game, with 8:39 to go in the half at 23-9.
But then the Bears started to click. They used a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to pull within four, and then after Yale got a few back, used their largest run of the game, a 12-0 stretch, to lead 34-29 with 1:25 to go before the break.
Yale got the final to buckets of the half to go into halftime leading by one, 35-34.
After the Bulldogs stretched their lead to five to open the second half, Nana Owusu-Anane tied the game at 40 before Wojcik connected from deep to put the Bears up 43-40 at the 15:12 mark of the second.
Yale took the lead back with back-to-back threes on their next two possessions and unfortunately for Brown, never relinquished it.
The Bulldogs eventually pushed their lead back out to 12, but the Bears would twice cut things to five, both times off Lilly threes, but that’s as close as they would get. Yale was just able to answer every Brown bucket down the stretch.
Despite the loss, the Bears did have their best performance of the season from the free throw line, going 17-for-19 (89.5%).
Brown closes their season at 14-13 and 7-7 in Ivy League play. They are tied for fourth with Cornell in the league, but for the third time out of the last four seasons, lose out on tiebreakers in the race to qualify for Ivy Madness.
“I look at where we were last year and I look at growth and improvement,” Martin said. “There is still a lot left in front of us, a lot of improvement and growth necessary, and it hurts that we’ve come up short, but if I just look at everything that you analyze and evaluate a team on, I see a much better team right now than we were at this time last year … We should feel good about the direction and where we are at despite coming up short.”