With two wins that were as thrilling as they were gut-wrenching, this weekend the men’s basketball team sealed its best Ivy League start in four decades.
The team now stands at 7-1 in the Ancient Eight, alone in first place atop the standings. Equally important, the Bulldogs took a huge symbolic step by sweeping traditional nemeses University of Pennsylvania and Princeton — who have claimed the Ivy League every year since 1989.
To pick a single standout player would be impossible. Josh Hill ’04 turned in a string of gutsy trips down the floor in the waning minutes of the Penn game. T.J. McHugh ’03 almost single-handedly propelled Yale to the lead in the second half against Princeton. Ime Archibong ’03, Alex Gamboa ’05 and Edwin Draughan ’05 catalyzed the offense and played stifling defense in both games. And head coach James Jones managed the team brilliantly throughout the weekend, knowing when to turn up the pressure and when to back off.
Judging from the vocal crowds at both games, Bulldog fans are aware that the team has not been this good in 40 years. With the weekend victories, Yale is now leading the race to the NCAA tournament, a place they haven’t been in exactly four decades.