Teams To Meet Again In Ivy League Tournament Next Saturday At Lee Amphitheater
PRINCETON, N.J. – For the seventh time in school history and third time in the last five years, Yale is the Ivy League champion. Blake Reynolds scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures as the Bulldogs rolled to an 81-59 victory over Princeton at Jadwin Gym to clinch the crown.
"It feels great. I'm just really happy for our whole group," said senior Alex Copeland, who contributed 15 points. "From top to bottom we worked really hard for this."
This year's team joins the 1957, 1962, 1963, 2002, 2015 and 2016 squads as Ivy champions.
It is the second crown for Yale's four seniors – Reynolds, Copeland, Trey Phills and Thomas Ryan. The Bulldogs also won in 2016 in their first year and then went on to beat Baylor for the first NCAA Tournament victory in school history.
"I got a little taste of it my first year," Reynolds said. "I knew I wanted to get back to that at some point in my career. To do it in my senior year with my classmates, it's really sweet."
The Bulldogs got contributions from everyone in earning the win over Princeton. Miye Oni scored 12 points, Jordan Bruner had five points and 10 rebounds, and Phills scored four points and grabbed four rebounds in addition to turning in another stellar defensive effort.
Yale's bench added 25 points, including 14 from Azar Swain and four from Austin Williams, who played five key minutes. Paul Atkinson was 2-of-2 from the field and added four rebounds and four assists and Eric Monroe had two reboounds and an assist in 11 minutes.
"That's one of the best parts for me tonight," said Reynolds of the strong play from the reserves. "Those guys come in every day and work hard. To see them come in and contribute in such a big way, that's one of the best parts of basketball for me. It's a team game."
After dropping their last two games, the Bulldogs played with renewed focus. They excelled at both ends of the floor, shooting 47.5 percent from the field, while limiting Princeton to just 37.5 percent.
"I thought the whole team did a great job getting back to basics defensively," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "We really guarded tonight. Our collective energy was tremendous."
Jones, the winningest coach in school history, has now guided Yale to four Ivy League championships.
The Bulldogs led 34-27 at halftime and outscored Princeton 47-32 in a dominant second half.
Yale ends the regular season at 20-7 overall. It is the third time in the last five years and eighth time in school history Yale has won at least 20 games.
The Bulldogs and Harvard both finished 10-4 in league play. The Crimson, who beat Columbia in overtime on Saturday, will be the top seed in next weekend's Ivy League Tournament by virtue of two wins over Yale.
The Bulldogs, seeded second, have a rematch with No. 3 Princeton in the second semifinal at Lee Amphitheater at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
No. 1 Harvard plays No. 4 Penn in the first semifinal at 12:30 p.m. The Quakers beat Brown to earn the final spot in the tournament.
The championship game is Sunday at noon on ESPN2.
"It feels great to win a championship," Jones said. "Now we just have to keep the momentum going and hopefully play well next weekend."
Report filed by Tim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity