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Trip To Georgia Tech Closes Out Non-Conference Play

Blake Reynolds (Steve Musco photo)
Blake Reynolds (Steve Musco photo)

Bulldogs Seek Second Straight Win In Peach State

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ATLANTA, Georgia – Yale will kick off the 2018 portion of the schedule in the same state it ended 2017. The Bulldogs head back to Georgia to meet Georgia Tech on Saturday. Tipoff at McCamish Pavilion is slated for 7 p.m. ACC Network Extra and Watch ESPN have the online video.

Yale rolled to an impressive 89-74 victory over Kennesaw State last Saturday. Sophomore Miye Oni (22 points) and first-year Paul Atkinson (20) combined for 42 points in the win and both were rewarded with Ivy League honors on Monday. Oni was selected as the league's player of the week, while Atkinson earned rookie of the week accolades.

The Bulldogs (7-8) will be playing their final game before the Ivy opener against Brown on Jan. 12. A victory over Georgia Tech would give them a .500 record in non-conference play, a noteworthy accomplishment given the obstacles overcome. Yale has dealt with a number of injuries, including to starters and All-Ivy candidates Jordan Bruner and Makai Mason. In addition, there was a hectic schedule that featured 12 games in the first 33 days and contests in nine different states (Connecticut, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New York, Mississippi, Delaware, Texas, Pennsylvania and Georgia). In all, the team has 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 has three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Oni at 17.2 ppg. Oni, who is already drawing the attention of NBA scouts, is among the Ivy leaders in virtually every category, including scoring (5th), rebounding (5th, 6.2 rpg.) and assists (6th, 3.5 per game). He flirted with a triple double (22 points, eight rebounds, career-high seven assists) in the win at Kennesaw State and has scored at least 12 points in 11 straight games, including 20 or more in three of the last four.

Alex Copeland (11.7 ppg.) and Blake Reynolds (11.3 ppg.) are the other double figure scorers.

Atkinson has established himself as one of the top newcomers in the league. He is the Ivy leader in field goal percentage (.713) and is the only Bulldog to have started all 15 games. Atkinson has been even more accurate of late.  In his last four games, he is shooting 90 percent (18-of-20) from the field, including the 10-of-12 performance at Kennesaw State.

Fellow first year Azar Swain also has had an immediate impact. He is averaging 8.1 points and is second on the team with 26 three-pointers.

Yale is 11th in the nation in assists per game (18.5) and leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage (47.9 percent).

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale is 2-0 all-time against Georgia Tech – a 79-78 win in Atlanta in 1968 and a 101-95 victory at the 1973 Old Dominion Classic. The Bulldogs' last game against an ACC opponent came last season when they dropped a hard-fought 75-70 decision at Pitt. The Bulldogs have had success against ACC schools during James Jones tenure as head coach. Yale won at Boston College in 2010 and at Clemson in 2002.

Jones also has guided the Bulldogs to victories over schools from the Pac-12 (Washington, Oregon State), Big 12 (Baylor) Big East (Rutgers), Big Ten (Penn State) and Atlantic 10 (Rhode Island) at Yale.

SCOUTING GEORGIA TECH

The Yellow Jackets (7-7) have already started ACC play. They opened with a 68-59 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday and then rebounded to defeat No. 15 Miami 64-54 on Wednesday night. Josh Okogie, who has been limited to six games, leads Georgia Tech in scoring at 20.0 ppg. Tadric Jackson (14.7 ppg.), Jose Alvarado (12.9 ppg.) and Ben Lammers (12.5 ppg.) are the Yellow Jackets' other double figure scorers. In Saturday's game with Notre Dame, three Yellow Jackets played more than 39 minutes. Georgia Tech is in its second season under head coach Josh Pastner, the 2017 ACC Coach of the Year, after going 21-16 and reaching the championship game of the NIT last season.

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