Bulldogs, Mountain Hawks Played Overtime Game Last Year
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale and Lehigh played a memorable game last season, an 89-81 Bulldog victory in overtime at Lee Amphitheater. When the teams meet again on Wednesday, this time in Bethlehem, Pa., all indications are it should be another nail biter. Both teams have played challenging schedules and both are among the favorites in their leagues. Tipoff at Stabler Arena is slated for 7 p.m. The game is being televised on Stadium's 24/7 stations (see full list here) and also will be streamed by the Patriot League Network.
The Bulldogs (5-5) are back from a trip to Texas where they dropped a 92-66 decision to 23rd-ranked TCU. It was the end of a busy week for Yale, which won at Delaware on Nov. 27 and two days later knocked off Bryant at Lee Amphitheater. It's been a busy start to the season for the Bulldogs, who are among only a handful of teams across the nation to already have played 10 games.
The demanding schedule hasn't seemed to bother Miye Oni, who leads the team in scoring at 15.9 ppg. and is in the top 10 in the Ivy League in several categories, including scoring (sixth), rebounding (seventh), assists (fifth), free throw percentage (eighth), steals (fifth), three-point field goals made (fourth), blocked shots (ninth) and assist/turnover ratio (eighth). Oni has scored at least 14 points in each of his last seven games, and is coming off an 18-point performance vs. the Horned Frogs.
First year Paul Atkinson picked up his first Ivy honor on Monday when he was named the league's rookie of the week. Atkinson, who has started all 10 games, averaged 10.7 points and 5.0 rebounds, while shooting 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the field in three games last week. He is shooting 66 percent from the field, which is second in the league.
In addition to Oni, Yale has two other players averaging double figures. Alex Copeland, one of the quickest guards in the league, is averaging 11.6 points and had 16 points at TCU. Blake Reynolds is averaging 10.3 points.
Yale's five losses have come to teams that are a combined 30-10.
The Bulldogs' early season success has come despite a number of injuries. Starters Makai Mason, who was selected as the preseason Ivy League Player of the Year by a number of outlets, and highly-regarded sophomore Jordan Bruner are both out. Still, the Bulldogs remain a favorite in the Ivy League. In his most recent Bracketology on ESPN.com, Joe Lunardi has Yale as a No. 15 seed in the West Region playing Wichita State. The Bulldogs were selected as the preseason Ivy favorite by a number of outlets and received the most first-place votes in the official Ivy League media poll.
Yale and Lehigh are playing for the third straight year. The Bulldogs have won two straight and lead the all-time series 9-8. The first meeting was back in 1904. In last year's overtime thriller, Alex Copeland scored a then career-high 20 points, and Miye Oni posted his first career double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds). Yale had to rally from a seven-point deficit with 3:48 remaining to force overtime and then outscored the Mountain Hawks 16-8 in the extra period.
The Mountain Hawks (4-4) are coming off a 75-54 loss at Virginia on Saturday. Lehigh's other losses have come to Monmouth, USC and Pitt. Lance Tejada leads the team in scoring (16.4 ppg.) and is shooting 48.1 percent (26-of-54) from three-point range. Kahron Ross (12.5 ppg) and Kyle Leufroy (11.1 ppg.) also average double figures in scoring. The Mountain Hawks have scored more than 90 points twice this season, an overtime win over Siena and a 25-point victory over Eastern University. Lehigh also has a road victory over Princeton on its resume.
Report filed by Tim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity