Strong second half edges Yale past Cornell

Forward Noah Yates '18

Forward Blake Reynolds ’19 set a new career high with 20 points, and guard Trey Phills ’19 scored all 17 of his points in the second half — but it was forward Noah Yates ’18 who hit the biggest shot of the night for the Yale men’s basketball team in a momentous 82–80 victory over Cornell.

In a game of 20 lead changes, Yates was responsible for the decisive points when he hit a corner 3-pointer off a no-look assist from guard Miye Oni ’20 with 20 seconds remaining to put the Bulldogs ahead 80–78. Phills stole the ball on the ensuing Cornell possession and hit an acrobatic reverse layup to put the exclamation point on a hard-fought victory.

At 6–4 in league play, the Elis maintained their one-game lead for third place.

The game was not always pretty, as Reynolds, Oni and forward Paul Atkinson ’21 all tallied at least four fouls, and Yates and Phills were whistled for three infractions apiece. The Big Red ended the first half on a 7–0 run to carry a 37–30 lead into the break before a high-scoring and seesaw final period.

Cornell led for 28 minutes of the game and built a lead as large as nine points, but Phills exploded for a huge second half to narrow the deficit. In the first frame Phills may have been devoting all of his energy to defense, as he contained the Ivy League’s best scorer, Matt Morgan. The Cornell guard demonstrated his scoring prowess in the second half, however,  notching 23 points overall to lead all scorers.

The Blue shot 50.8 percent from the field and 10–19 from downtown. Cornell, meanwhile, went 6–19 from beyond the arc, with the most consequential miss coming from Steve Julian as time expired.

Guard Makai Mason ’18 did not play after suffering a setback this week and was seen wearing a boot on his left foot. Mason made his return to action last Saturday against Harvard but was not dressed for the game.

Yale will close out its road schedule Saturday night at Columbia.