It was a nail-biter late in Providence as the Yale men’s basketball team visited Brown in its third game of the Ivy League season. To avoid falling to the bottom half of the Ancient Eight standings, Yale turned to forward Sam Downey ’17 and guard Miye Oni ’20 late in a dramatic one-point victory.
The Bulldogs (10–6, 2–1 Ivy) trailed by 12 entering halftime, but mounted a comeback in the second. Despite 33 points from Brown (10–9, 1–2 Ivy) forward Steven Spieth, Yale still prevailed 75–74. Downey provided 26 in the winning effort and Oni hit four three-point shots in the final minutes.
Yale struggled to contain the fast-paced Brown offense in the first half. The Bears took a 40–28 lead into halftime thanks to 15 points from Spieth and 11 from guard Obi Okolie. Spieth, the brother of professional golfer Jordan Spieth, connected on 4–5 three pointers in the first half.
The Bears pounced on 12 Yale turnovers and converted them into Brown points on transition baskets. Several Yale drives to rim were stymied by charges drawn by the Bears. The Elis shot an impressive 41.7 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, but turnovers and offensive fouls limited their shots. Brown, meanwhile, turned the ball over just twice in the first half.
Yale’s only success in the first half came from its big men down low, as the Bulldogs outrebounded Brown 24–15. Downey and forward Blake Reynolds ’19 carried the Elis, scoring nine and eight first-half points, respectively.
Returning from the locker room with more energy, the Bulldogs started the second half on a 13–0 run to take a 41–40 lead. Yale cut down on its turnovers while creating three on the other end of the floor.
Brown did not make a field goal for the first seven minutes of the second half. Downey built off his first half performance, dropping 10 points in the first eight minutes. The teams traded several baskets midway through the half.
Yale, a team that thrived shooting the ball from deep early this season, struggled on Friday night from three-point range. The Bulldogs made just 1–15 their three-point attempts before Oni hit two straight with under four minutes to play to pull the Elis ahead 65–63.
Spieth scored the next six points for the Bears to put them up 69–67, but Brown would have no answer for Oni in the last minute of the game. The Yale freshman hit two more threes to put the Bulldogs up by four before committing a technical foul — his fifth foul of the game — with 18 seconds to play.
After the teams traded free throws, Spieth hit his final three of the game with seven seconds to play to tie the game. Copeland drew a foul with 2.9 seconds to play and hit one of his two free throws to take the lead. Brown missed a last-second three to win the game, and Yale prevailed 75–74.
Downey grabbed 13 rebounds along with his career high 26 points. The two teams will have a rematch next Friday night in New Haven at 8 p.m.