The Yale men’s basketball team started its Ivy League campaign where it hopes to end it this season: the Palestra in Philadelphia, which will host the inaugural four-team Ivy League Tournament this March. In a Friday night road contest against Penn, the Bulldogs left no doubt that they belong in the conversation for the Ivy League’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
The Elis (9–5, 1–0 Ivy) won as they have all year with consistent defense and well-balanced scoring in a 68–60 victory over Penn (6–7, 0–2). Yale held its opponent under 70 points for the eighth time this season, while four Bulldogs scored in double figures to fuel the victory.
“We did a great job rotating defensively,” head coach James Jones said. “Guys were at the right place at the right time… we had great energy closing out and diving for loose balls.”
Yale jumped out to a 10–2 lead just over four minutes into the game, but the Quakers worked their way back into the game to tie the score at 27 late in the first half. Penn capitalized on six Yale turnovers while coughing up the ball just once in the first half.
The Quakers played a large portion of the half without their best player, as forward AJ Brodeur checked in for just 10 minutes of the half after picking up two fouls early. Still, the freshman led Penn into the locker room with seven first-half points.
Guard Alex Copeland ’19 led the way for the Bulldogs with 10 points in the first 20 minutes. Guard Anthony Dallier ’17 added eight in the frame to go along with three rebounds and three assists. Yale dominated on the glass in the first half with Brodeur on the bench for Penn. The Elis came down with 23 rebounds compared to just 14 for the Quakers.
The Bulldogs did not look back in the second half, starting the period with a 7–0 run. Yale never trailed by fewer than seven points in the final 20 minutes.
After being held scoreless in the first half, guard Miye Oni ’20 scored 18 points in the second half, going 3–3 from behind the arc to lead all scorers in the contest. Forward Blake Reynolds ’19 found his stride in the second half, scoring eight points in the final 20 minutes and finishing with 11 points on the night.
The Elis continued to find success from behind the arc, shooting 53.3 percent from three-point range. The Quakers shot just 25.9 percent on the night.
“We missed a lot of open shots we usually make, then you have to start pressing [and] Yale took advantage,” Penn head coach Steve Donahue said.
Yale continues its road trip Saturday night at Princeton. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.