Starts Friday At Columbia
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It's been an exciting start to Ivy play for the Bulldogs, who have won three of their first four league games, including a dramatic rally last Friday in an 85-75 victory over Brown. Next up is the annual swing through New York state. It starts on Friday at Columbia at 7 p.m. and concludes on Saturday at Cornell at 6 p.m. The Ivy League Digital Network has the video of both games.
Yale (11-6 overall) has won nine of its last 11 games. The last two victories, both over Brown, required significant comebacks. In Providence two Fridays ago, the Bulldogs overcame a 12-point halftime deficit in squeaking out a 75-74 victory. Alex Copeland's free throw with 2.5 seconds left was the winning basket. One week later at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in Payne Whitney Gym, Yale found itself trailing by 10, 58-48, with 13 minutes left but outscored the Bears 22-3 over the next 10 minutes en route to the victory.
Anthony Dallier, who scored a career-high 30 points in the home win over Brown, spoke after the game of doing whatever the team needed him to do. For much of the season, that has been distributing the ball and running the offense. But when scoring was required, Dallier responded. That has been a mantra that has served the team well. Several players have stepped up when necessary.
Yale has six players averaging 9.8 points or better, led by Copeland at 13.1 ppg. Nine different players have scored in double figures at least once this season, five have at least one 20-point performance and seven different players have led the team in scoring in a game at least once. In addition, four Bulldogs have earned weekly Ivy honors. Miye Oni is a four-time rookie of the week selection, while Jordan Bruner has been honored once. Sam Downey is a two-time player of the week honoree, while Dallier won the award this week after his scoring outburst against Brown.
Yale has thrived at both ends of the floor. The Bulldogs lead the Ivy League in field goal percentage (.469) and are second in field goal percentage defense (.410). Yale also leads the league in rebounding margin (+4.7 rpg.), assists (16.5 per game) and offensive rebounds (10.6 per game).
Nationally, the Bulldogs have committed the second fewest fouls (288) of any team and are 29th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.310).
At the end of this weekend's trip, Yale will have played five of its six Ivy games on the road. The Bulldogs then have four straight in the friendly confines of Lee Amphitheater where they have won 21 straight games.
Yale's most recent trip to New York was quite memorable. The Bulldogs knocked off Cornell 88-64 and then learned on the bus ride to New York City that Harvard had beaten Princeton, guaranteeing Yale at least share of the Ivy title. The next night at Columbia, the Bulldogs clinched the outright title and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 71-55 win over the Lions.
Yale has won three straight and six of its last eight games at Levien Gym. Overall, the Bulldogs are 13-3 in their last 16 games with the Lions. Columbia, though, leads the all-time series 125-106. The first meeting between the teams was Jan. 18, 1902, a 48-3 Yale win.
The Bulldogs have won four straight games at Newman Arena and seven in a row overall in the series with Cornell. The all-time series between the teams is tied at 110-110. The first meeting came in 1899, a 49-7 Yale victory. It was the Bulldogs' first game against an Ivy League opponent.
The Lions (9-8, 3-1 Ivy) are coming off an impressive home sweep of Dartmouth (66-54) and Harvard (65-62) last weekend. Columbia has three players averaging double figures in scoring – Luke Petrasek (15.2 ppg.), Nate Hickman (13.4 ppg.) and Mike Smith (12.5 ppg.). In their last 10 games, the Lions have improved their scoring defense by 18.8 points, and in five of their last six contests have held teams under a point per possession. Additionally, Columbia has forced 73 turnovers (18.3 per game) during conference play. Jim Engles is in his first season as the head coach of the Lions. Engles had previously served as an assistant coach to Joe Jones, the younger brother of Yale head coach Joe Jones, at Columbia before being named the head coach at NJIT.
The Big Red (6-13, 2-2 Ivy) also feature a first-year coach familiar to Yale fans. Brian Earl spent nine years as an assistant coach at Princeton and was the 1999 Ivy League Player of the Year for the Tigers. Cornell is led by Matt Morgan, the league's leading scorer at 18.1 ppg. Morgan has attempted 151 three-pointers, nearly 100 more than any Yale player. Stone Gettings (12.4 ppg.) and Robert Hatter (11.7 ppg.) also average double figures in scoring. The Big Red is coming off a home split last weekend, falling to Harvard 77-71 on Friday and topping Dartmouth 75-62 on Saturday.
JONES YALE'S ALL-TIME WINNINGEST IVY COACH
With three Ivy wins this season, James Jones, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs, is now Yale's all-time leader with 144 Ivy League victories. He began the year tied with Hall of Fame Coach Joe Vancisin, who won 141 league games in his 19 season. Jones' 144 Ivy coaching victories are third all-time in league history, trailing only Princeton's Pete Carril and Penn's Fran Dunphy. In addition, Jones' 265 overall wins are the third most by a coach in Ivy history.
HOME SWEET HOME
Yale has won its last 21 games in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater, which is tied with Cincinnati for the fifth longest active home winning streak in the nation through Wednesday night's games. Only Kansas (54), Oregon (38), Akron (28) and New Mexico State (22) have longer home winning streaks. Yale's last home loss came on Feb. 21, 2015, 56-50 to Columbia. The Bulldogs went the entire calendar year of 2016 without losing a home game.
TICKETS TO IVY TOURNAMENT ON SALE
Tickets for the Inaugural Ivy League Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments, March 11-12 at the Palestra in Philadelphia, are currently on sale. The top four men's and women's teams will play for the Ivy League's automatic bids to the NCAA tournaments where the League has won six games over the last seven years.
Starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2 tournament books can be purchased at IvyMadness.com/tickets or by calling The Palestra box office at 215-898-615.
The tournament book includes tickets to all six games across the two-day event. Prices range from $60-$120.
Single-session tickets, if available, will go on sale at a later date. Individual game tickets will not be available.
COACHES VS. CANCER THREE-POINT CHALLENGE
Making 3-point shots this basketball season takes on even more meaning this year for Coach James Jones and the Yale men's basketball team. The Bulldogs will square off against teams across the nation to fight cancer as part of the American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer 3-Point Challenge.
The Coaches vs. Cancer 3-Point Challenge allows over 200 college and high school basketball teams nationwide to use their spotlight on the court to raise money and awareness against cancer. Fans can make a pledge for each 3-point shot the Bulldogs make from February 1st – March 4th by visiting https://pledgeit.org/cvc-yale. Each donation will support the American Cancer Society's research, education and patient programs.
Report filed by Tim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity