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Harvard Edges Yale 54-52

Paul Atkinson (Steve Musco photo)
Paul Atkinson (Steve Musco photo)

Copeland Scores 11 Points To Pace Bulldogs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale picked the wrong time to have an off night shooting. The Bulldogs, who entered the night leading the Ivy League in field goal percentage, were held to 30.4 percent from the field in dropping a hard-fought 54-52 decision to Harvard before a packed house at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

The Crimson, one of the top defensive teams in the league, certainly had something to do with it.

"They are very aggressive, and they play hard. That's their identity," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs.

Still, Yale had opportunities.

"I thought we got some good looks that didn't go down," Jones said.

Chris Lewis paced the Crimson with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Seth Towns and Corey Johnson both added 11 points.

The Bulldogs were effective on defense as well, limiting Harvard to 40 percent shooting.

Alex Copeland scored 11 points to lead Yale, and Trey Phills had 10 points and eight rebounds. Miye Oni contributed seven points and 10 rebounds, and Azar Swain scored eight points.

The Bulldogs (8-11, 1-2 Ivy) fought all the way back from an early 16-point deficit to take a two-point lead, 49-47, on an Oni layup with 5:11 remaining, and the Amphitheater was rocking.

Lewis, though, answered with a quick bucket.

It stayed tied until 2:11 remained when Justin Bassey made three free throws after getting fouled attempting a three-pointer.

Towns had a chance to add to Harvard's lead but missed two free throws with 1:57 left.

That gave Oni a chance to tie it in the final seconds, but Justin Bassey made a quick close out, and Oni's  three-pointer came up short.

"I felt great when it touched [Oni's] hand," Jones said of Yale's final opportunity.

Towns then hit two free throws with two seconds left to seal the win for the Crimson. Copeland made a three-pointer as time expired for the Bulldogs.

Yale missed five of its six shots in the final five minutes and had a turnover.

"We have to make plays at the end of the game," Jones said.

The Bulldogs were solid defensively in the second half, holding Harvard to 30.4 percent from the field.

"This was our best defensive effort all year after their initial run," Oni said. "So we can build off of that."

The Bulldogs' two Ivy losses have come by three points. Yale dropped an 81-80 decision at Brown last Friday.

The Bulldogs are right back in action on Saturday when they host Dartmouth. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. The game can be seen on the Ivy League Network and ESPN3.

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