Men’s basketball exacts revenge on Bulldogs

McGonagill ’14 sets career high with seven three-pointers, leading Bruno to first Ivy League victory

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, January 27, 2014

After losing their Ivy league opener to Yale last week, the Bears came back with a vengeance to beat the Bulldogs 73-56 in the Pizzitola Center Saturday. Bruno took hold of the lead three minutes into the game and never relinquished it.

The Bears (9-7, 1-1 Ivy) opened their scoring with four treys, three of which came from co-captain Sean McGonagill ’14. Twenty-one of McGonagill’s game-high 29 points came from behind the arc. He managed to post his scoring total on just 11 shots from the field and set a career high with seven three-pointers.

But after picking up a second quick foul just six minutes into the game, McGonagill was replaced by Norman Hobbie ’17 and did not return to action until three minutes before the end of the half.

“The irony is, we built our lead in the first half with (McGonagill) on the bench,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04. “But without him in the second half, it’s a different game. He’s the best player in the league, and he played like it today.”

To build that first half lead without McGonagill, Martin relied on the depth of his bench. Leland King ’17 contributed six points and five boards, while Dockery Walker ’15 added 10 points and an assist. Walker shot five-of-six from the field in just 14 minutes.

“(King) and (Walker) gave us great minutes,” Martin said. “We believe in our depth. We believe in the guys we have. We think everyone can contribute, and we got huge contributions up and down the lineup.”

The Bears went into the half leading 38-25, with McGonagill having played just seven minutes.

Yale (7-9, 1-1), led by Justin Sears — who netted 17 points — came out of the half playing aggressive defense and cut into  the lead. The Bulldogs  forced two turnovers from point guard Tavon Blackmon ’17 and managed to reduce the margin to seven with 14 minutes remaining.

Rafael Maia ’15 brought the home crowd back into the game with an uncontested three-pointer, just his second trey of the season. McGonagill fired up the crowd even further with a three of his own just 30 seconds later, extending  the lead  to 13.

The Bears then went cold, allowing Yale  to climb back into the game once again. Six free throws and a jump shot for Sears sliced Bruno’s lead to just five with eight minutes remaining.

But McGonagill took back control of the game, leading the Bears on a 13-3 run. During the run, McGonagill sparked the crowd when he converted a four-point play — nailing a long three as he was hacked by a Yale defender and then hitting the free throw. He drained another three a minute later to solidify the double-digit lead.

“We’re at our best when Sean’s at his best,” said co-captain Cedric Kuakumensah ’16. “Sean’s a really good player — I think the best in the Ivy League. When he’s playing well, it gives the team this extra kick, and everyone is more motivated to chip in and do their part.”

“(McGonagill) is great to play with, because he’s a great shooter,” Maia said. “He makes the defense collapse and help on him. He also has good vision, so if he’s being double teamed, he always finds me when I’m open.”

Maia displayed his own court vision, dishing out a career-high five assists against the Bulldogs. Kuakumensah added seven rebounds, two blocks and four points in 23 minutes of play.

The squad will have a week to practice and rest before hosting Cornell (1-15, 0-2) and Columbia (13-6, 2-0) back-to-back next weekend.