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Road Swing Continues At Princeton, Penn

Eric Anderson (Steve Musco photo)
Eric Anderson (Steve Musco photo)

Top Two Teams In Ivy League Meet Friday At Jadwin Gym

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NEW HAVEN, Conn.  – Yale made it through the first go-round of Ivy League play unscathed. The Bulldogs kick off the second half of the league season this weekend when they travel to second-place Princeton on Friday and Penn on Saturday. Both games are 7 p.m. tips and can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network and ESPN3.

Yale (17-5, 8-0 Ivy) has won 12 straight games, its longest winning streak since 1948-49. It was initially thought that 13 was the longest streak in school history but a closer look at the 1906-07 results shows that team won 14 straight games on its way to a 30-7-1 overall record and an EIBL Championship. With Stony Brook's loss at Albany on Wednesday night, the Bulldogs now share the longest current winning streak in the nation with Stephen F. Austin, who don't play again until Saturday.

Yale and Stephen F. Austin (12-0, Southland) are also now the only two teams still undefeated in conference play.

Yale, ranked 19th in this week's CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll, received three votes in the Associated Press national Top 25 as well. In addition, the Bulldogs are No. 48 in the KenPom.com Rating, their highest ever.

Yale fared well on its first road Ivy weekend, sweeping Dartmouth and Harvard. The Bulldogs trailed Dartmouth by nine early in the second half before outscoring the Big Green 43-24 over the final 16:32. It was the first time in Ivy play that Yale was behind in the second half. The Bulldogs' average margin of victory in league games is 15.9 points.

Justin Sears, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, had a big role in the sweep, scoring 21 points in each game. He added 13 rebounds at Dartmouth and was named the league's player of the week for the second straight week. A Yale player has either won or shared that award in each of the last five weeks.

Sears, a Plainfield, N.J. native, remains in the top-10 in the league in a number of statistical categories, including scoring (4th, 16.5 ppg.), rebounding (9th, 6.9 rpg.), field goal percentage (6th, .524), blocked shots (2nd, 1.7 per game) and offensive rebounds (1st, 3.6 per game).

Makai Mason, who scored a career-high 25 points in the win at Dartmouth, is seventh in the league in scoring (15.9 ppg.), second in assists (3.8 per game) and seventh in free throw percentage (.771).

Yale leads the league in field goal percentage (.471), scoring defense (63.4 ppg.) and field goal percentage defense (.402).

Nationally, the Bulldogs are second in rebounding margin (+11.3), 13th in offensive rebounds per game (14.0), 15th in scoring defense and 20th in scoring margin (12.5).

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Turnovers: Yale took good care of the ball in last weekend's sweep of Dartmouth and Harvard, averaging just nine turnovers. When the Bulldogs turn it over less than their opponent, they are 9-0 on the season. Princeton is among the national leaders in fewest turnovers.

Comebacks: The Bulldogs rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to defeat Dartmouth last Friday. Princeton has made a habit of even more impressive comebacks. The Tigers trailed Columbia by as many as 12 last Saturday before rallying to win in overtime. Earlier in the season Princeton was down 11 to Penn with less than four minutes left but came back to win in overtime.

Darien Nelson-Henry: An injury limited Penn's Nelson-Henry to three minutes in the Quakers' first meeting with Yale, but he appears to be back at full strength. In Saturday's 92-84 victory over Cornell, he scored 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in 30 minutes.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale has won two of the last three meetings with Princeton at Jadwin Gym, including an 81-73 victory on Valentine's Day last year. Overall the Bulldogs have won six of the last seven games against the Tigers. On Jan. 30, Makai Mason scored 22 points, and Brandon Sherrod added 19 as Yale edged Princeton 79-75 at Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs are trying to sweep the season series for the third time in the last four years.

The Bulldogs can also sweep Penn. Sherrod scored 19 points as Yale rolled to an 81-58 win over the Quakers on Jan. 29. The Bulldogs have won seven straight overall against Penn, including their last three at the Palestra.

Yale has swept the Penn-Princeton road trip in two of the last three years.

SCOUTING PRINCETON

The Tigers (16-5, 6-1 Ivy) haven't lost since falling at Yale on Jan. 30. Princeton is the highest scoring team in the Ivy League at 79.6 ppg. Henry Caruso (16.2 ppg., 6.6 rpg.) leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Devin Cannady tops the Ivy League in free throw percentage at .881. Princeton began the week fifth in the nation in fewest turnovers with 233. The Tigers have five of their last seven games in Jadwin Gym.

SCOUTING PENN

The Quakers (9-12, 3-4 Ivy) host Brown on Friday. Penn, which has won three of its last four games, is coming off a 92-84 victory at Cornell last Saturday. The Quakers have three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Darien Nelson-Henry at 12.4 ppg. Penn has six freshmen or sophomores averaging double figures in minutes.

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