April 13th, 2014 | Sports

Bulldogs tame Mustangs for national title

After a weekend packed with a long schedule of closely contested games, the Yale men’s club basketball team cruised to a 60–48 win over the club team from Cal Poly on Sunday afternoon for the Bulldogs’ first-ever national club basketball title.

The National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association National Basketball Championship took place over the weekend at Carmichael Gymnasium on the campus of North Carolina State University. Yale qualified for Nationals by winning a NIRSA regional tournament at Boston University in January.

The Bulldogs played six games in fewer than 48 hours, but the team was perfect through pool play and the playoff rounds to earn the title. Along the way, the Elis took down a number of notable basketball schools, including Gonzaga, the University of Dayton and the University of Southern California, winning all of the knockout games by single-digit margins. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the tournament came in the round of 16, when Ezra Ritchin ’15 drained a three at the buzzer to lift Yale over Dayton, 53-50.

Yet the Bulldogs’ most dominant performance came against the Cal Poly Mustangs in the championship game. Despite playing its third game of the day, Yale exploded in the second half to take an insurmountable double-digit lead. Captain Zach Miles ’14 hit a three pointer from the left wing with about six and a half minutes remaining to make it a 12-point lead for the Elis — from there, a running clock forced the Mustangs into rushed shots and frustration fouls. Under the modified rules used in the NIRSA tournament, the clock continued to run during the 20-minute halves except during timeouts and the final two minutes of each half.

Yale’s leading scorers for the tournament were Ritchin and Will Bartlett ’14. The all-Tournament team will be announced by Monday.

The self-coached team won Yale’s first national championship at any competitive level since the men’s hockey team defeated Quinnipiac for the NCAA Division I title on April 13, 2013, exactly one year ago today.