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Six Score In Double Figures, Bulldogs Hold Off Lehigh In Home Opener

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

Phills, Oni Score 20 Points Apiece; Reynolds Adds Double-Double

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The wait for the home opener proved well worth it for the Bulldogs. Trey Phills and Miye Oni each scored 20 points to lead six in double figures as Yale knocked off Lehigh 97-87 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Blake Reynolds (12 points, 10 rebounds) added a double-double, while Jordan Bruner (13), Alex Copeland (11) and Azar Swain (10) also were in double figures.

Jordan Cohen paced Lehigh with 21 points, and Lance Tejada added 19.

The game featured two of the top three-point shooting teams in the nation, and it lived up to the billing. The teams combined to make 26 treys.

The first half was a shooting clinic, The Mountain Hawks were 9-of-13 from downtown, while the Bulldogs made 9-of-21. The result was a 51-51 tie after 20 minutes.

In the second half, Yale held Lehigh 34 percent shooting from the field and outscored the Mountain Hawks 46-36.

"Defensively we picked it up and guarded a little better, and that made all the difference," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs.

Trailing 64-63 early in the second half, Yale scored nine straight points to seize control. Lehigh got back within two, 73-71 with 7 minutes remaining, but the Bulldogs answered with a 13-2 run. From there, Yale's lead grew to as many as 16 in the final minute.

Once again there were a number of contributors for the Bulldogs, including sophomore Jalen Gabbidon, who had six points on a pair of three-pointers in his 10 minutes off the bench. Gabbidon missed all of last season with an injury.

"Jalen was tremendous tonight," Jones said. "What's interesting is we have a bunch of other guys on the bench waiting their turn to come in and do the same thing."

Paul Atkinson also had a strong game off the bench, scoring five points and grabbing seven rebounds in 20 minutes.

The double-double was the second at Yale for Reynolds, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds last year vs. St. Bonaventure.

Reynolds and Bruner combined for 25 points and 18 rebounds in the post.

"Jordan is a great energy guy to have. Me and him feed off each other really well," Reynolds said.

NOTES: Yale has now won its last nine straight home openers… The Bulldogs outrebounded Lehigh 43-28… Oni finished with an impressive line of 20 points, six rebounds and eight assists in 36 minutes. He was 8-of-14 from the field… The Bulldogs finished with 21 assists on their 33 field goals… Prior to tonight, Yale was one of only three Division I schools in the nation that had yet to play a home game. Arkansas Pine Bluff and Prairie View A&M were the others… Yale was the second Ivy League opponent for the Mountain Hawks, who beat Princeton 72-57 on Nov. 16… The Bulldogs can now turn their attention to No. 3 Duke. Yale meets the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN

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