A career-high 19 points from guard Jack Montague ’16 paced the Yale men’s basketball team in its 81–66 victory over Dartmouth on Friday night.
Yale started off the weekend on the right foot, as players found their shooting stroke. Montague shot 5–6 from behind the arc as the Elis (16–6, 5–0 Ivy) shot a season-high 61.9 percent from long range.
“Penetration was key,” Montague said. “We had a lot of inside-out touches as well. The open shots were there, and I just got into a rhythm.”
The Bulldogs also connected on 51.1 percent of their shots from the field, well above their season average of 44.3 percent.
Forward Justin Sears ’16 and guard Javier Duren ’15 have carried the load offensively for the Bulldogs often, but against Dartmouth (8–11, 1–4), the Elis used a balanced attack in which only one player, Sears, saw more than 30 minutes on the floor.
“[Sears and Duren] have been carrying us the first four games offensively,” head coach James Jones said. “It was just a matter of time before Jack found his stroke and Makai [Mason ’18] found his. It steamrolled, and Armani [Cotton ’15] makes a couple of threes, and Greg Kelley [’15], who had been struggling, comes in to make a couple.”
The players surrounding Sears and Duren were impactful against Dartmouth, as Sears was well guarded the entire night. The Big Green crowded the paint to limit his touches, and at the end of the first half, Sears had just three points.
Duren was plagued by foul trouble throughout the game, but Mason stepped into the vacated minutes and performed well. Mason was the floor general during the final stretch in the first half, as the Bulldogs went on a 13–1 run to head to the locker room with a 14-point lead.
“My teammates are trusting me each and every game, as I continue to prove myself,” Mason said. “Their trust has allowed me to really try to reach my potential.”
The Elis retained control in the second half and the Big Green were unable to close the gap. The lead never shrunk below nine points, and the Bulldogs were able to turn the game over to their bench with 2:36 remaining on the clock.
Three players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs: Montague and his team-best 19, Sears with 16 and Mason with 11. A total of 10 players scored for the Elis, who received 27 points from their reserves.
The Bulldogs remain in control of their destiny, as they sit atop the Ivy League with the team’s best start in conference play since Ivy League play started in 1957.
“We’re just looking forward to the next game,” Montague said. “We have a target on our back sitting in the number one seed, but we’re always going to get Harvard’s best. It’s a rivalry game, and it’s nothing but a battle.”
Yale hosts Harvard Saturday night at 7 p.m. in a matchup between the top two teams in the Ivy League.