Princeton cemented itself as one of the Ivy League’s most impressive basketball teams ever with a 71-59 victory over Yale at the Palestra to win the inaugural league men’s basketball tournament, clinching a 16-0 record in league competition and the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011.
The tournament No. 1 seed Tigers relied on characteristically potent outside shooting in the second half and stout defense to pull decisively away from Yale, and sophomore guard Myles Stephens led Princeton with 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Stephens was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, having notched 21 points and 10 boards in Princeton’s 72-64 overtime win over Penn Saturday.
Princeton went 7-for-14 from three-point range in the second half, quickly stretching a 31-29 halftime advantage. Senior guard Steven Cook added 15 points on 3-for-5 shooting from three-point range, and the Tigers finished 11-for-26 from deep.
The Tigers’ defense limited Yale to 20-for-53 shooting from the floor, and the Elis were paced by sophomore guard Alex Copeland’s 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting and senior center Sam Downey, who posted 12 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes.
Princeton, which lost two starters in nonconference play, won its first outright Ivy League championship since 2004 with a 14-0 regular season record but had to survive both Yale and an upstart Penn squad to punch its ticket to the Big Dance. Cornell was the last team to attain a 14-0 record in league play, doing so in 2008.