Yale (21-6, 9-2 Ivy) stole the ball on five consecutive possessions and six in total in the last two minutes with a suffocating press. Penn (13-11, 5-6) appeared as though it had never seen a press before. Yale effectively chose to consistently not guard the Red & Blue inbounder.
In a game strewn with improbabilities, the most improbable stat was Yale rallying from down 10 with 1:38 remaining to upend Penn, 76-73, before 2,106 screaming fans at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Sure, AJ Brodeur had 25 points and Devon Goodman 23 for Penn in a losing effort, but the number which jumps off the page from the stat sheet is five.
That’s how many steals Yale defensive specialist Jalen Gabbidon pocketed, three of which came during the final 98 seconds.
Yale got a key referee overturn with 35 seconds, with the ball ultimately ruled to have last touched Brodeur after an Eric Monroe block under Yale’s basket.
After a long wait and many replay looks by the officials, the ball was called off of Brodeur. Coach James Jones called both an offensive play and a defensive set in the long huddle.
“Our guys had a lot of energy,” Jones said, obviously thrilled with his team’s performance. “They wanted to win.”
Jones praised Brodeur and Goodman as well.
Paul Atkinson led Yale with 18 points. Monroe chipped in with a clutch 12 tallies on 4-for-6 shooting from three-point range.
Yale won the rebounding war 36-32 and caused 18 Penn turnovers. The Bulldogs notched a season-high 15 steals.
With the comeback win, Yale clinched a berth to the Ivy League Tournament in Boston in two weekends. The Elis host Princeton tonight.
Penn, meanwhile, sits precariously in fifth place and travels to Brown tonight. A Penn loss eliminates the Red & Blue from Ivy Madness contention.