Brown Opens Ivy Season With 75-66 Win Over Yale

New Haven, Conn. - The Ivy League’s 14-game playoff to crown its league champion began Friday evening with Brown coming away with a hard-fought 75-66 victory over Yale behind a strong performance by senior Steve Gruber, who came off the bench to score a career high 15 points.

The win gives the Bears a 1-0 Ivy record, 7-11 overall, while Yale falls to 6-12 overall, 0-1 in the Ivy League.

Gruber’s 15 points came on 3 of 5 shooting from the field and 8 of 10 shooting from the free throw line. He led three Brown players in double figures, with freshman Andrew McCarthy tossing in 14 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the field, and pulling down a game high eight rebounds. Bears’ junior Adrian Williams chipped in with 12 points, while junior Garrett Leffelman scored nine points.

After trailing 31-29 at the half, the Bears came out strong in the second half and grabbed a 10-point lead, 55-45, on a trey by Gruber with 19:13 remaining in the game. Yale came back with a 7-0 run to draw to within thee points of the Bears, 55-52, on a jump shot by Michael Sands.

Brown answered immediately and took control of the game, extending their lead by 12 points with a 10-1 run, to pull ahead, 65-53, on a lay-up by McCarthy with 2:40 left in the game.

The Bears led for 19-minutes in the first half and by as many as seven points, 17-10, on a lay-up by freshman Andrew McCarthy with 7:45 left in the half. But the Elis slowly whittled the Brown lead down and took their only lead at the half, 31-29, on a three-point basket by Jordan Gibson just five seconds before the halftime buzzer.

Bears’ junior forward Peter Sullivan scored eight first half points for the Bears, but was injured with 13 minutes remaining in the half when he pump-faked from the corner, got the defensive player up in the air, drew hard contact and was knocked to the floor without a whistle. He did not return to the game.

Brown played with a limited Matt Mullery, the Bears’ All-Ivy center who played with a soar ankle after missing Monday’s game at Quinnipiac. Mullery scored just five points, but he registered 7 assists.

The difference in the game may have come at the free throw line. Brown connected on 24 of 29 free throws (82-percent), aggressively getting to the basket. Yale hit 11 of 18 shots (61-percent) from the charity stripe.

Yale was led by Mike Sands with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Alex Zampier and Michael Grace registered 14 points each.

Brown vs. Yale, Round II, will take place next Friday evening, January 22, in Providence, Rhode Island, as the Bears take on the Elis at the Pizzitola Sports Center, starting at 7:00 p.m.