From the time Hartford released their schedule for the season, the game against Yale has been marked as their first big test. Falling by only eight points to Murray State in the CIT Tournament title game last season, Yale wasn't going to be an easy opponent by any means.
Nate Sikma scored the first four points of the game for Hartford but Javier Duren answered back with a three for Yale. This flip flop for the lead took up most of the first half, though Hartford did tend to keep the lead longer than their Connecticut counterparts.
Both teams were incredibly physical, with high emotions on either side. Hartford was up against a five game winning streak, while Yale has been through a slew of games that left them with a loss to Providence before today.
Yale fired back at the beginning half with a 15-2 run with multiple layups by Justin Sears and Jack Montague. Unfortunately for Hartford, those first six minutes that Yale dominated in the second half were going to set the tone for the rest of the game.
During the media time out with 6:23 left in the second half, Head Coach John Gallagher tried to rally his troops after a layup by Justin Graham and a foul on Yale's Anthony Dallier by shouting "It's playing time!"
Though his positivity and encouragement didn't last very long. After a layup, free throw and jumper from Yolonzo Moore II and a trey from Taylor Dyson, the fouls started to accumulate on Hartford's end. And Yale wasn't missing free throws, going 20 for 28 for the game.
Between the fouls, the missed shots, the lost possessions and the simple mistakes, Hartford had sunk themselves into a hole that no matter how hard they played, there was no way out. The last straw seemed to be when Mark Nwakamma fouled out at the very end of the game.
"I thought the game was won by them in the first six minutes of the second half. They went on a 15-2 run and if you're gonna try to come back and win that game, you have to play perfect. I thought we played extremely hard in that last 12 minutes, but it wasn't enough."
While the Hawks fall to 5-2 and Yale moves on to 6-2, both teams have a minimal turnaround before they both head out onto the court for December 3rd. Hartford starts conference season early and is heading up to Vermont to play the Vermont Catamounts where Yale heads to Bryant.