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Bulldogs Head To Georgia To Face Kennesaw State

Eric Monroe (Steve Musco photo)
Eric Monroe (Steve Musco photo)

Final Game Of 2017

Yale Game Notes | Kennesaw State Notes

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs wrap up the 2017 portion of the schedule with a trip to Georgia to face Kennesaw State on Saturday. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. and ESPN3 has the video.

Yale also will kick off 2018 in the Peach State. After flying home following Saturday's game, the Bulldogs will return to Atlanta next Thursday and face Georgia Tech on Jan. 6.

With school on winter break, the focus will be on basketball for the next few weeks as Yale prepares for the start of Ivy League play on Jan. 12 vs. Brown. Much of the attention will be on the defensive end of the floor. The Bulldogs' offense has been very efficient. They lead the Ivy League in field goal percentage (47.0) and assists (18.2 per game) and are third in scoring offense (76.6 ppg.). Defensively, though, they have not been as consistent. Yale has at times been stingy but has allowed each of its last two opponents to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, including Monmouth in its most recent game on Dec. 22.

Sophomore Miye Oni has been a big reason for the offensive success. He scored a season-high 25 points against Monmouth and is among the league leaders in just about every category, including scoring (6th, 16.8 ppg.), rebounding (6th, 6.0 rpg.), assists (7th, 3.2 per game), free throw percentage (6th, 79.1 percent) and three-point field goals made (4th, 2.8 per game).

Yale also features the league's most accurate shooter in first year Paul Atkinson, who is 47-of-68 (.691) from the field. Atkinson, one of only two players to start all 14 games, hasn't missed a shot in his last three games, going 8-of-8 during the stretch.

Junior Blake Reynolds is the other player to start all 14 games, and he is averaging 11.5 points. Reynolds has scored in double figures in four straight games and six of the last seven.

In all, the Bulldogs have seven players averaging at least 6.0 points.

Injuries have forced James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs, to turn to his younger players. In addition to Atkinson, first years Azar Swain, Jameel Alausa and Wyatt Yess are regulars in the rotation.

Sophomore Eric Monroe also has seen an increased role. Monroe has started the last four games. He tallied six assists in the win over Lehigh and scored 12 points in the game at Iona.

The Bulldogs have travelled across the country during non-conference play and faced a very challenging schedule that includes games with Creighton and TCU, both ranked in the top 25, and mid major powers Vermont, Iona, Lehigh, Delaware, St. Bonaventure and Monmouth.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale and Kennesaw State are meeting for the first time. The Bulldogs are playing their first game in the state of Georgia since taking part in the 1984 Cotton States Classic at the University of Georgia. NJIT is the most familiar Atlantic Sun opponent for Yale. The Bulldogs played the Highlanders four times between 2009 and 2016, although that was before NJIT was an official member of the conference.

SCOUTING KENNESAW STATE

The Owls (3-10) are coming off an 89-56 loss at Mercer on Thursday. James Scott (17.3 ppg.) leads Kennesaw State in scoring. Nick Masterson (12.1 ppg.) and Tyler Hooker (11.5 ppg.) also average double figures in scoring. Like Yale, the Owls have been road warriors. In the first two months of the season, they have traveled to Washington, Butler, Florida State and Texas Tech. The Owls are 3-2 at home. Kennesaw State is coached by Al Skinner, who spent 13 seasons at the helm of Boston College's program where he guided the Eagles to 247 victories and six NCAA Tournament appearances in 13 seasons.

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