Yale falls to Harvard in close battle

No matter the sport or when or where the game is played, Harvard-Yale is always a classic. When the two teams took the floor on Saturday night at John J. Lee Amphitheater, they wrote a new dramatic chapter to their historic rivalry.   

Harvard (14–7, 6–2 Ivy) snapped Yale’s 22-game home win streak with a 75–67 victory. Despite 20 points from guard Alex Copeland ’19 and 15 from forward Sam Downey ’17, Yale (14–7, 6–2) fell as the Crimson made 12 three-pointers on the night.

Downey dominated early for the Bulldogs, putting up a double-double by halftime. The senior who had started just three games prior to his senior made five of six field goals in the first half and took 12 points and 10 rebounds into halftime. He finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Yale held a 36–31 lead into halftime, but three-point shooting kept Harvard in the game early. Although it shot just 35.3 from beyond the arc, the Crimson made six three-balls in the first half compared to just one for the Bulldogs.

The Elis outscored Harvard 22–8 in the paint in the first half thanks to Downey’s dominance and a quiet start for the Crimson’s big men. Yale doubled forward Chris Lewis every time he caught the ball, holding the freshman to just four first half points.

Harvard’s top scorer this season, guard Bryce Aiken, led the Crimson with 12 first half points.

Guard Miye Oni ’20 put his stamp on the game with a posterizing two-handed dunk over a Harvard big man. Yale had a chance to extend its lead to double digits late in the first half but a stretch of poor offensive possessions and a couple Crimson threes kept Harvard in the game.

The inability to knock the Crimson out when it was down hurt Yale in the second half. Harvard took a 41–40 lead into the first media timeout after hitting two more threes to open the half.

Eli forward Blake Reynolds ’19 tied the game up at 47 with a corner three. Guard Alex Copeland ’19 drove to the rim on two consecutive possessions to open up a four point Yale lead.

However, Aiken returned the lead to Harvard scoring six straight Crimson points. Harvard continued to launch three-point attempt after three-point attempt, and Yale’s two-pointers could not catch up.

Yale cut the Harvard lead to four after trailing by 10 but came up short. Oni had nine points in the second half to finish with 11.

The Crimson prevailed 75–67 as Aiken had a game-high 27 points. The Bulldogs host Princeton and Penn next Friday and Sunday.