Yale Enters Weekend Tied For First Place With Harvard
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Fresh off a sweep of the Dartmouth-Harvard road trip, the Bulldogs are back in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater this weekend. Yale hosts Penn on Friday at 7 p.m. and then has a 6 p.m. date with Princeton on Saturday on Alumni Day.
The former players returning to New Haven will see a team that is playing very good basketball. The Bulldogs (11-9, 5-1 Ivy) have won four straight games and enter the weekend tied with Harvard for first place in the Ivy League. Yale is seeking its first 6-1 Ivy start since the 2006-07 season and hasn't started 7-1 since 2001-02.
Defense has keyed the four-game winning streak. The Bulldogs are holding their opponents to 36.7 percent from the field, including 28.6 percent from three-point range, during the stretch. In addition, Yale has a +11.8 rebounding margin.
Justin Sears, who averaged a double-double (14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds) in last weekend's sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard, was named the Ivy League co-player of the week. Sears, who now has six double-doubles on the season, is among the league leaders in several categories, including scoring (5th, 15.3 ppg.), rebounding (4th, 7.0 rpg.), field goal percentage (8th, .488), steals (4th, 27) and blocked shots (2nd, 35).
James Jones, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball, earned career victories No. 200 and 201 last weekend. He is only the second coach in school history to reach 200 wins and just the fourth coach to win 200 or more games at an Ivy League school. Jones is now only five wins shy of Hall of Fame coach Joe Vancisin, who guided the Bulldogs to 206 wins and is Yale's all-time leader.
After Saturday, Yale plays four straight road games before returning to Lee Amphitheater.
3 KEYS FOR YALE
Remain Focused – The Bulldogs are coming off an emotional victory at Harvard but cannot afford a let down against very talented Penn and Princeton teams.
Stay Patient – During the four-game winning streak, Yale has been fully committed to working the ball inside, even passing up open outside shots early in the shot clock at times. The Bulldogs remain at their best when they attack the basket.
Defend Inside And Out – Penn has been relying on the inside presence of Fran Dougherty, who is averaging 15.3 points in league games and shared Ivy player of the week honors with Justin Sears. Princeton, on the other hand, counts on three-point shooting to be successful. More than half of the Tigers' field goal attempts have come from beyond the arc.
• Armani Cotton is coming off one of his best all-around games. He scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists in last Saturday's victory over Harvard. It was his second career double-double.
• Brandon Sherrod scored a season-high 15 points in the victory over Dartmouth. He was 4-of-6 from the field and made all seven of his free throw attempts.
• With Javier Duren getting into early foul trouble in both games last weekend, Jack Montague stepped up and gave the Bulldogs some very important minutes off the bench. Montague played 17 minutes at Dartmouth and then was on the court for a career-high 21 minutes against Harvard. Against the Crimson, Montague contributed six points and two assists.
Yale swept the season series from both Penn and Princeton last year for the first time since the official start of Ivy League play in 1956-57.
The Bulldogs have won two straight and three of the last four meetings with Penn at Lee Amphitheater. Five players scored in double figures, led by 15 from Brandon Sherrod, in last year's 79-65 victory. The Quakers lead the all-time series 146-72.
Yale has won two straight over Princeton in New Haven. Last year Greg Kelley scored 13 points as Bulldogs knocked off the Tigers 69-65. Princeton leads the all-time series 144-83.
The Bulldogs have swept the Princeton-Penn home weekend five times during James Jones' tenure as head coach at Yale, including the last two years.
The Quakers (6-13, 3-2 Ivy) are coming off a home sweep of Cornell and Columbia. Penn enters the weekend one game behind Ivy League leaders Yale and Harvard in the loss column. Four Quakers - Tony Hicks (15.3 ppg.), Fran Dougherty (12.6 ppg.), Miles Cartwright (11.8 ppg.) and Darien Nelson-Henry (10.7 ppg.) average double figures.
Princeton, who played at Brown on Friday, picked up its first league win last Saturday, knocking off Cornell 69-48. Three of the Tigers' four league losses have come by six points or less and the fourth was decided in overtime. T.J. Bray (17.7 ppg.) leads the team in scoring. More than half of Princeton's field goal attempts have been three-pointers.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity