No. 2 Yale got everyone involved in a high-scoring first half of its Ivy Madness semifinal matchup with No. 3 Princeton.
The Bulldogs (20–7, 10–4 Ivy) shot 20 of 33 from the field in the contest’s first 20 minutes, collecting 11 assists and outmatching the Tigers (16–11, 8–6) on the glass. Of the eight Elis who saw action in the frame, all but one added points to the scoreboard.
Both squads battled back and forth for the first 10 minutes of the tilt, trading buckets in a relatively quiet first few minutes of the elimination game. Princeton center Richmond Aririguzoh, who led the Ancient Eight this season with 2.8 offensive rebounds per game, made his presence felt inside, as he grabbed three and dropped 14 points.
A two-handed slam from guard Trey Phills ’19 electrified the crowd as the Bulldogs finally shook off any remnants of pregame nervousness. Notable contributions from captain and forward Blake Reynolds ’19, who finished the half with 13 points, and sharpshooting guard Azar Swain ’21 helped the Elis build up a 12-point lead after 20 minutes of play. Along with Phills’ jam, Swain’s side-stepping, leaning three-point bucket allowed Yale to separate itself from the Tigers early on in the contest.
Crowds at the John J. Lee Amphitheater were smaller than expected for Saturday’s first of four semifinals. The Ivy League sold tickets to Ivy Madness in sessions, meaning that fans purchased the same ticket for access to both men’s semifinals. Still, the JLA atmosphere was unquestionably characteristic for playoff basketball. When a smattering of Yale fans rose to recognize the Yale run with a short, standing ovation as Princeton called a 30-second timeout with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the half.
William McCormack | firstname.lastname@example.org
Cristofer Zillo | email@example.com