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Senior Weekend Sweep: Bulldogs Topple Penn 79-65

Michael Grace (photo by Don Clark, Yale sports publicity)
Michael Grace (photo by Don Clark, Yale sports publicity)

Five Players Score In Double Figures; Sherrod Leads Way With 18

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The season ended in fitting fashion for the Yale men's basketball team.

Yale's depth and balance was never more on display than in Saturday's 79-65 victory over Penn in the season finale before 1,762 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Five players scored in double figures, led by Brandon Sherrod, who finished with a career-high 18. Armani Cotton added 15, Michael Grace and Javier Duren had 13 each, and Matt Townsend scored 10.

In addition, the Bulldogs' bench outscored Penn's reserves 49-18.

"We just played great team basketball," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.

Yale, who knocked off the Quakers 68-59 at the Palestra last month, completed its first season sweep of Penn since 1967. The Bulldogs, who also swept Princeton, won all four games against Penn and Princeton for the first time since the official start of Ivy League play in 1956-57.

The victory clinched a third-place finish for the Bulldogs, who were picked sixth in the Ivy League preseason media poll. Yale (14-17, 8-6 Ivy) has now finished fourth or better in league play for 13 straight seasons and has had a winning Ivy record for three straight years.

The win also made for a special Senior Night for Grace, Austin Morgan and Sam Martin, who each were playing their final games and were honored prior to tipoff.

Sherrod, a sophomore, stole some of the spotlight from the seniors, however. He was 6-of-7 from the field and added five rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.

"I just tried to be active," said Sherrod, who was hampered by an injury for much of the league season. "I tried to focus on the offensive glass. Coach [Jones] emphasized that at halftime."

Yale had only four offensive rebounds at halftime but finished the game with 12 and Sherrod had three of them.

The Bulldogs trailed 32-31 at the intermission but shot 52 percent (14-of-27) from the field, 85 percent (17-of-20) from the free throw line and scored 48 points in the second half.

Penn's final lead of the night was 38-37 with 17:03 left. Yale answered with an 18-7 run over the next five minutes to seize control. The Quakers never got closer than five the rest of the way.

Tony Hicks scored 16 points to pace Penn (9-21, 6-7 Ivy). Miles Cartwright added 12 points and Darien Nelson-Henry contributed 10.

The Bulldogs, who had seven freshmen or sophomores average at least 14 minutes, won five of their last seven games to end the season.

"We continued to get better throughout the year," Jones said. "Our offense was much smoother, and we moved the basketball much better."

While the future certainly looks bright, it was a night to honor the three seniors. Grace, Morgan and Martin combined to play in 325 games, score 1,814 points and help the Bulldogs to nearly 50 wins.

"I love those guys," Martin said of his fellow seniors, "but it doesn't end here. We'll be friends forever."

NOTES: Yale outrebounded the Quakers 38-24. Townsend and Armani Cotton each grabbed nine to lead the way. Townsend narrowly missed his first career double-double… There were 45 fouls called in the game… Morgan ends his career with an .859 free throw percentage, which is a new school record… His 199 career three-pointers are the third most in Yale history… The Yale Athletics Department hosted a raffle and silent auction during the game with the proceeds being donated to the Newtown Park and Recreation's Dickinson Memorial Playground Gift Fund in honor of the children of Sandy Hook… A team from the Newtown Youth Basketball League played a game at halftime.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity