Bulldogs Stay Hot, Topple Monmouth 66-58

Alex Copeland (Photo courtesy of Karlee Sell, Monmouth Athletics)
Alex Copeland (Photo courtesy of Karlee Sell, Monmouth Athletics)

Oni Scores 20, Swain Adds 14 to Pace Yale

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – An eight-day break for final exams did nothing to cool off the Bulldogs. Azar Swain scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half, including hitting three clutch three-pointers, as Yale knocked off Monmouth 66-58 at the OceanFirst Bank Center.

Miye Oni scored 20 points to pace the Bulldogs, who have won five of their last six games.

This one didn't come easily. Monmouth led by as many as 12 points in the first half before Yale rallied to take a 49-38 lead early in the second half.

Then it was the Hawks' turn to comeback. They ran off 17 straight points to go ahead by six with seven minutes left.

The Bulldogs, though, again fought back, outscoring Monmouth 12-2 over the next five minutes. The final three came on a Swain three-pointer that put Yale ahead by four with two minutes left and was the biggest shot of the game.

The Bulldogs (6-3) made five free throws, including a pair from Alex Copeland, in the final 2 minutes and held the Hawks scoreless until the final seconds to close out the road victory.

"It wasn't our best effort and some of that had to do with Monmouth," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "We need to make sure we learn from this and play the way we are supposed to. When we do, we're pretty good."

Yale again got contributions from a number of sources. Blake Reynolds scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Jordan Bruner added nine points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.

There was also strong play from the bench. Swain was 4-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, Paul Atkinson had four points and six rebounds and Eric Monroe, who had missed the last six games, hit a big three-pointer as time expired in the first half to pull Yale within 31-29 at the break.

"We rely on our bench. Having Eric Monroe hit that three-pointer [at the end of the half] and Azar in the second half. It was big for our team," Jones said.

Ray Salnave scored 15 points to pace Monmouth, who beat the Bulldogs 85-64 last year at Lee Amphitheater in the first meeting between the teams.

Yale has little time to savor this win. The Bulldogs host Iona on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Lee Amphitheater.

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