Back And Forth Ivy Battle Goes To Harvard

Alex Copeland (Steve Musco photo)
Alex Copeland (Steve Musco photo)

Copeland Scores 20, Downey Posts Double-Double To Lead Bulldogs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs' first home loss in nearly two years didn't come without a serious fight. Yale and Harvard went back-and-forth for much of the night before the Crimson used a late run to escape with a 75-67 win before a packed house of 2,532 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Bryce Aiken scored 15 of his game-high 27 points in the second half as Harvard erased a five-point deficit.

Alex Copeland had 20 points, and Sam Downey added 15 points and 14 rebounds to pace the Bulldogs.

Yale and Harvard are now tied for second place in the Ivy League with identical 5-2 records, two games behind first-place Princeton (8-0).

The loss ended Yale's 22-game home winning streak, which was the fifth longest active streak in the nation heading into the day.

The game featured eight ties and 12 lead changes.

"Both teams did a lot of incredible things," said Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker. "It was a sensational night for Ivy League basketball."

Yale (14-7 overall) outscored Harvard 34-22 in the paint and shot 46.3 percent from the field, but Harvard made 12 three-pointers, including several big ones down the stretch.

"We did a good job of protecting the paint, but were not good enough on the perimeter," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs.

Yale took its final lead of the night, 53-51, on a Copeland jumper with 9:23 left. Aiken, though, answered with a four-point play that ignited a 6-0 Crimson run.

Jordan Bruner's layup pulled the Bulldogs within two with five minutes left, but Harvard responded with back-to-back three-pointers from Corey Johnson and Siyani Chambers.

Yale got back within four on a Miye Oni jumper with 47 seconds left, but Aiken and Chambers both hit a pair of free throws in the final 24 seconds left to seal the victory.

Chambers, who has returned to the Crimson lineup after missing all of last season with an injury, had 16 points and six assists. Johnson added 12 points, which came on four three-pointers.

Oni finished with 11 points for Yale, while Bruner scored eight and Trey Phills contributed seven.

Downey did most of his damage in the first half when he scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Bulldogs built a 36-31 lead.

"I got some easy looks, and the guards did a good job of finding me," he said.

NOTES:

The loss ended Yale's five game winning streak… The Bulldogs' last home loss came to Columbia 56-50, on Feb. 21, 2015… The Crimson was 15-of-17 from the foul line… Yale was just 3-of-16 from three-point range… Still, the three three-pointers went for a good cause. As part of the Coaches Vs. Cancer 3-Point Challenge, 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… Phills was 3-of-3 from the foul line and has now made 28 straight free throws dating back to the game at Brown on Jan. 20… The Bulldogs will look to start a new home winning streak when Princeton visits next Friday. Tip is at 8 p.m. following the Yale-Princeton game which starts at 5:30 p.m… The Bulldogs then get a rare Saturday off before they host Penn next Sunday at 1 p.m. in a game that will be syndicated by the American Sports Network. Check yalebulldogs.com later this week for details on which networks will be televising the game. It will also air on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity