Yale Athletics

Heading into Wednesday’s matchup, the Bulldogs had won 12 straight matchups against in-state competition. Fairfield — a 17-point underdog — didn’t seem like the team to break that streak. 

But 40 minutes later, Fairfield (3–6, 0–0 MAAC) sent Yale (5–5, 0–0 Ivy) to the locker room with a 75–71 loss. 

“We are not playing Yale basketball, and we’re not where we need to be,” head coach James Jones told the News postgame. “We are not connected offensively or defensively right now.”

The Elis seemed disrupted by Fairfield’s fast, aggressive style of play. The Stags pressed full-court after each made shot, and forced Yale into 14 turnovers throughout the game. Yale, who held several 10-point leads throughout the game, struggled to get stops.

Up 61–51 with under six minutes remaining, the Bulldogs surrendered a 19–3 Fairfield run, putting themselves into a 70–64 hole with thirty seconds remaining. 

The Bulldogs’ disappointing result comes just three days after Sunday night’s last-minute meltdown against Vermont, in which the Bulldogs lost despite having a 65–60 lead with three seconds left.

Forward Matt Knowling ’24 led the scoring with 14 points, and the rest of the Bulldog starting lineup had double-digit scoring performances, too.

Just eight of Yale’s points came from its bench, with all of those coming from forward Nick Townsend. 

Fairfield head coach Chris Casey credited Yale after the game, but said that his team made “a couple more plays than they did.”

“We tried to speed them up on offense, really pressure them and make it hard for their shooters to get open looks,” Casey said. “But they’re a great team and our guys played a really strong game.”

Guard John Poulakidas ’25 struggled mightily, shooting just 3-11 from three, with one of his makes coming on a last-second heave. The Bulldogs made just six threes as a team.

Fairfield guard Jasper Floyd torched Yale’s defense all night, scoring 25 points and penetrating their defense with ease, consistently making layups and getting to the free throw line.

Fairfield also kept pace with Yale in the rebounding column, grabbing 32 boards to Yale’s 34 and limiting their ability to score second-chance points, holding the Elis to eight offensive rebounds.

“We just didn’t execute our gameplan,” Jones said. “Had far too many bad possessions on offense or defense.”

Fairfield’s 75 points was the seventh time in nine Division I games that Yale has given up more than 70 points to an opponent this season. Last season, they allowed that to happen just twice during the entirety of the non-conference schedule.

Despite the early season woes, Jones remained confident in his team.

“We’ll be able to connect the dots at some point, but we’re not doing it right now,” he said. “Guys have to play together and with each other. We’ll continue to work on it and go back to the drawing board tomorrow. Practice is at 4:15.”

Next up, Yale will face Colby-Sawyer, a Division III team on Friday night. On Monday, they’ll travel to nearby Quinnipiac for another in-state game.

Friday’s game will tip-off at 7 p.m. in John J. Lee Amphitheater.

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.