Abraham Payne, Contributing Photographer

The Yale men’s basketball team (7–1, 0–0 Ivy) hit a new school record with 18 three-pointers as they cruised to an 86–40 victory over Howard University (4–6, 0–0 ME) at home Wednesday night.

“That’s what was available,” head coach James Jones said. “The guys were wide open for catch-and-shoot opportunities. We found good rhythm jumpshots for our shooters, so we’re certainly going to take those.”

Guard August Mahoney 24 propelled the Bulldogs to a dominant 47-point first half with 15 of his 18 points — all of which came on three-pointers — coming before the break. Guard John Poulakidas 25 also scored all his points from three, finishing with 12 points on four of eight shooting. 

The stellar shooting performance was a continuation of a strong campaign for Yale’s three-point specialists, who are shooting 47 and 51 percent from three, respectively. 

“I’m confident in myself just as I am confident in my teammates,” Mahoney said. “John [Poulakidas] is a great shooter. I’ve got boatloads of confidence in Bez [Mbeng ’25] shooting the ball. So when my teammates can rely on me to make shots and we’re all shooting the ball well and looking for each other, we’re pretty hard to stop.”

Mbeng knocked down three three-pointers of his own on his way to a strong 13-point, eight-assist performance. Mbeng was unfazed by Howard’s 2-3 zone defense, demonstrating his vision and passing instincts by constantly finding his teammates behind the arc. On the first possession of the second half, Mbeng caught the ball from well beyond the three-point line and threw a lob with pinpoint accuracy to forward Isaiah Kelly 23 for a highlight reel alley-oop.

Abraham Payne, Contributing Photographer

It was arguably the best performance of the year for the Maryland native, who had made just three of his 21 attempts from deep all season coming into the game. 

“It felt pretty good to see one go in,” Mbeng said. “I just try to keep shooting with confidence because I work on those shots all the time, and yeah I was in a little slump so hopefully tonight got me out of it.”

The game was long out of reach by the 15:57 mark in the second half as the Elis went up 59–29 on a layup by forward Matt Knowling 24. Knowling, who leads Yale in scoring and ranks third in the Ivy League with 18.1 points per game, did not have much to do on the night, scoring eight points on six attempts from the field. 

The 46-point victory was the latest in a trend of blowout victories at home. The Blue and White are 4–0 at home this season, winning each matchup by an average of 47 points. The Bulldogs came into last night’s matchup as 13-point favorites. 

The wide margins of victory have largely been thanks to Yale’s swarming defense, which has given up just 51.9 points per game this season, the third fewest among all of Division I basketball’s 352 teams. 

“In games, we do a great job,” Jones said. “The guys have stepped up and done a really good job of defending.”

Yale will hope to continue limiting its opponents scoring as the team now heads on a six-game road trip, which includes matchups against tough non-conference opponents such as Butler and Kentucky, a top-20 team in the nation. 

The Bulldogs dropped their first game in a 65–62 heartbreaker last Sunday against Colorado, one of three Power Five teams on Yale’s schedule. 

Jones remained adamant that despite not having many high-major teams on the schedule, his team does not go into difficult matchups unprepared. 

“No, no absolutely not,” Jones said. “The defense when you play against teams like Kentucky, Colorado is obviously on a much different level than what we faced tonight. Those guys are better, bigger and longer. But our guys play against those kinds of guys all the time during the summer in scrimmages and that kind of stuff.” 

The Elis will look to improve upon their strong start as they head to the shores of Long Island for a Saturday evening matchup against Stony Brook University. 

Ben Raab covers faculty and academics at Yale and writes about the Yale men's basketball team. Originally from New York City, Ben is a sophomore in Pierson college pursuing a double major in history and political science.