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Harvard Spoils Mason’s Return

Makai Mason (Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot)
Makai Mason (Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot)

Crimson Knock Off Bulldogs 64-49

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – One dry spell went a long way in spoiling Makai Mason's return to the Yale lineup. Chris Lewis scored 18 points to lead four players in double figures as Harvard held off the Bulldogs 64-49 in a late-night affair at a packed Lavietes Pavilion.

Mason was back after missing all of last season and the first 25 games of this season with foot injuries. He played 21 minutes and scored eight points. His first basket was a three-pointer from the wing on his first shot a little over minute after he had checked into the game.

"It was a relief," Mason said. "It felt good to be back competing with the guys. There were some ups and downs, but it's nice to have the first one out of the way. We'll go from here."

Blake Reynolds paced Yale with 11 points and added seven rebounds. Alex Copeland and Miye Oni each scored seven points, Azar Swain added six, and Paul Atkinson and Trey Phills had five points apiece.

The Bulldogs trailed by just four, 14-10, 6:30 into the game but went nearly 10 minutes without a basket. The Crimson scored 17 points during the stretch to seize control.

Harvard's lead was 36-16 at halftime, but Yale made a couple of pushes to get back in the game. Phills' reverse layup on a fast break cut the deficit to 11 with 13:32 left and Atkinson followed with a pair of free throws to pull Yale within nine.

The Crimson quickly answered and pushed the lead back to 15. The Bulldogs, though, made one more run. Swain's second three-pointer of the second half had them back within 10 with 5:23 left, but Harvard again responded getting a big 3-pointer from Seth Towns and a dunk from Lewis.

Yale outscored Harvard 33-28 in the second half.

The game was similar to the first meeting between the teams when the Crimson built an early 16-point lead and then withstood a big Yale comeback to win 54-52.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs remain in sole possession of third place in the Ivy League at 5-5. Brown, Cornell and Columbia all sit one game behind at 4-6. The top four finishers in the regular season earn a spot in the Ivy League Tournament on Mar. 10-11 at the Palestra. Harvard and Penn with their victories on Saturday have clinched spots in the tournament.

NOTES: Former Bulldog Justin Sears '16, who is playing professionally in Germany, was in attendance. He flew back to watch his younger brother play at Wesleyan earlier in the day… Matt Townsend '15, who earned a Rhodes Scholarship and was the NCAA Academic All-American of the Year in his senior year at Yale, also was on hand. After completing his time at Oxford, Townsend is now at Harvard Medical School… The game was a 9:30 p.m. tip to accommodate ESPNU, which televised the game… Swain, a Brockton, Massachusetts, native, had a number of family and friends in attendance… The Bulldogs, who entered the game 15th in the nation in assists per game, had only eight, nearly 10 below their average… Yale is back on the road next weekend, traveling to Cornell on Friday and Columbia on Saturday. Saturday's game against the Lions is another late start. Tip is slated for 8:30 p.m. and the game will air on SNY.

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