NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat came numerous times for James Jones’s Elis, in a thrilling 100-89 triple overtime win over a talented Siena team last night at home before a boisterous crowd.
Yale controlled the action in the first half, but had little to show for it and the teams entered their respective locker rooms knotted at 32.
Siena took control late in the second half, and when Jalen Pickett hit one of two free throws with 10 seconds left in regulation, the Bulldogs were down three.
Coach Jones drew up a play for Azar Swain at the top of the key with five ticks remaining, and Siena inexplicably did not foul. Swain got off a 23-footer with two seconds remaining and it hit nothing but net. Swain finished with a game and career high of 25 points.
The teams traded baskets and free throws in the second overtime stanza, with neither drawing blood. Yale was called for a questionable foul with 5.7 seconds remaining in that period and Siena sophomore star Jalen Pickett hit both free throws to send the game into a third overtime, tied at 86.
Siena played the third frame without fifth-year graduate Elijah Burns, who originally started his play at Notre Dame. Burns had 22 points. Manny Camper also had 22, along with a game-high 19 rebounds, yet was only 6-for-21 from the field.
Yale dominated the third overtime, winning the final period 14-3.
“I am really proud of our guys,” Jones said. “They dug down.”
Besides Swain, Yale was led in scoring by Paul Atkinson with 21 and sophomore Matt Cotton, really coming into his own now, with 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting.
Yale now stands at 3-2, with three of its games going to overtime. Siena fell to 2-3.
It marked the longest overtime game for the Elis since 1956, when they fell to Princeton in five overtimes.
Yale continues its rigorous out of conference schedule, when it travels to 4-0 Penn State on Saturday and then makes a trip to Orlando, to play in the NIT Season Tip-Off against Western Michigan and Bucknell.