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Ivy League Play Kicks Off With Visit From Brown

Trey Phills (photo courtesy of Delvin Jones, Georgia Tech Athletics)
Trey Phills (photo courtesy of Delvin Jones, Georgia Tech Athletics)

Bulldogs, Bears Tipoff At 5:30 p.m. Friday

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The preliminaries are over. Yale kicks off Ivy League play when Brown visits the John J. Lee Amphitheater inside Payne Whitney Gym on Friday. Tip off is slated for 5:30 p.m., and the game will be televised by Eleven Sports [DirecTV‎: ‎623 (HD), Verizon FiOS‎: ‎597 (HD), AT&T U-verse‎: ‎1665]. In addition, video is available from the Ivy League Network. John Ryan (play-by-play) and Josh Hess (analysis) will be on the call.

Friday's game, which follows a Yale women's basketball game vs. Brown at noon, features multiple promotions:

  • Yale Athletics will donate a portion of ticket sales for the men's hockey (7 p.m.), and women's and men's basketball (12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively) games to the Yale-United Way campaign.
  • Friday is also Yale Athletics' Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day at the women's and men's basketball games. Tickets are $5 for Yale employees, and Dunkin Donuts gift cards will be given out at each game to the first 100 employees to present Yale IDs.
  • In addition, children wearing their Youth Basketball team jerseys will be admitted free.

It's been a remarkable run for the Bulldogs in league play over the last three years. Yale has posted a 33-9 record in regular season play, won a pair of Ivy titles, including the outright championship in 2016, and last year advanced to the championship game of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.

Expectations remain high as the Bulldogs get set to embark on the 2018 Ivy campaign. Yale overcame a rigorous and challenging non-conference schedule to win seven games. The Bulldogs had 12 games in the first 33 days of the season and had contests in nine different states (Connecticut, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New York, Mississippi, Delaware, Texas, Pennsylvania and Georgia) overall. The team travelled more than 12,000 miles and faced top-flight major and mid-major opponents, including Creighton, Wisconsin, TCU, St. Bonaventure, Albany, Vermont, Lehigh, Delaware, Iona and Monmouth.

Yale (7-9) was a fun team to watch during non-conference play. The Bulldogs average 18.4 assists per game, which is 10th in the nation, and lead the Ivy League in field goal percentage, shooting 47.7 percent from the field. Their unselfish play earned the admiration of a number of opponents.

"I think it's a great teachable moment for our group to be able to see that team enjoy playing together and enjoy each other's successes because they have a team," said Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby following the Blue Hens' 76-66 loss to Yale in November. "It was fun to watch that team because they play the game the right way and they share the basketball."

Sophomore Miye Oni is the offensive catalyst. He leads the team in scoring (16.9 ppg.), rebounding (5.8 rpg.) and assists (50) and is among the Ivy League leaders in virtually every category. Oni has plenty of support. Nine players average at least 9.6 minutes per game, and two others are scoring in double figures – Blake Reynolds (11.1 ppg.) and Alex Copeland (11.1 ppg.).

There also has been significant contributions from newcomers. Paul Atkinson leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage (.702), and Azar Swain has emerged as a three-point threat. Swain is second on the team with 28 treys. Atkinson is a two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week selection, and in his last five games is shooting 83.3 percent (20-of-24), including a 10-for-12 performance against Kennesaw State when he scored a career-high 20 points.

The Bulldogs are coming off a hard-fought 74-60 loss at Georgia Tech last Saturday.

Yale has won its Ivy League opener in each of the last four years, including last season at Penn.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale has swept the season series from Brown in each of the last three years, including 75-74 and 85-75 victories last year. Neither win a year ago, though, came easily. The Bulldogs had to rally from a 12-point deficit in the one-point victory in Providence. Miye Oni made four three-pointers in the final 3:29 to help clinch the win. One week later at Lee Amphitheater, Yale found itself trailing by 10 midway through the second half but outscored the Bears 37-17 the rest of the way en-route to the 10-point win. The Bulldogs have won seven straight over Brown at Lee Amphitheater and lead the all-time series 107-52.

SCOUTING BROWN

The Bears (7-6) completed their non-league season with a 70-69 win over NJIT on Jan. 3. Brown's defense has forced an Ivy League leading 14.5 turnovers per game. The Bears also lead the Ivy League in free throw percentage (.775), free throws made (252) and free throws attempted (325). Brown ranks second in the league in scoring with 76.6 points per game. Brandon Anderson (19.0 ppg.) leads the team in scoring. Desmond Cambridge (15.9 ppg.) is a four-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week selection.

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