You know the adage. It has been uttered hundreds of times by countless college coaches and scribes.
It is tough to beat a team three times in a season.
That has to be a mantra for Yale heading into a week of practice before Ivy Madness.
NEW HAVEN – The hegemony over Princeton continues for Yale at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
The Elis defeated the Tigers, 66-63, Yale’s sixth straight win in the series. The win also marks the ninth home weekend sweep of Princeton and Penn. To put this into historical context, Penn leads the overall series by 151-82 and Princeton leads it now 150-84.
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.
It had all the makings of a perfect storm.
The almost five-hour drive from Cornell to Columbia at 10 p.m. The double overtime expenditure of energy in Newman Arena that preceded it. Yale was ripe for the taking.
Until it wasn’t.
If revenge was the motive, then call it mission accomplished for Yale.
Cornell swept Yale last season to knock the Bulldogs out of Ivy League Tournament contention. Yale completed this season’s sweep of the Big Red last night at John J. Lee Amphitheater, 65-51.
The game was nip and tuck early on, but Yale (16-6, 6-3 Ivy) ended the half with a 32-27 lead behind the clutch shooting of Ellen Margaret Andrews. The Bulldogs were 4-for-6 from 3 in the first half. Andrews posted 18 points for the game to lead her squad.
No one has ever pretended that the Princeton-Penn road trip is an easy one. Not even for the Ivy League leader.
Yale fell victim to a noisy and boisterous Palestra and too much AJ Brodeur and Eddie Scott, as the Quakers upset the Elis, 69-61, Saturday night.
There are 13 people on a basketball court at any one time. One never should focus on three of them.
Unfortunately, the focus was on them in the first half of the Princeton-Yale battle at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
And they were equal-opportunity malfeasants. You won’t hear that from Princeton coach Carla Berube or Yale coach Allison Guth. They are too classy.
But the officials made some mind-jarring calls which led to both Yale standout Roxy Barahman and Princeton star Bella Alarie ending up on the bench early.
Princeton, ranked No. 25 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll, beat Yale, 55-39, before a sparse crowd of 551 at JLA. Princeton (18-1, 6-0 Ivy) had a large and vocal following behind its bench. Former UConn great and National Player of the Year Kara Wolters was present to support her former college teammate Berube.
It would have made sense if Yale had come out with a hangover Saturday night against Dartmouth at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
It would have made even more sense if Azar Swain missed his first few shots after missing a would-be game-tying free throw against Harvard and having 24 hours to think about it.
Neither happened as Yale raced out to a 23-9 lead. James Jones is strong-willed, and Swain also shares this attribute. Swain came out hot and Yale beat the Big Green, 75-57.
Swain was brilliant in the second half ,scoring 27 of his game-high 33 points in that stanza. He almost single-handedly brought Yale back from a 13-point deficit in the last five minutes of the game resulting from a 9-0 run in a game played before a boisterous and student-laden sellout crowd of 2,706.
Harvard led 45-32 at the half, fueled by 19-for-33 (57.6%) shooting from the field, including 6-for-11 (54.5%) from three en route to an 8-for-19 (42.1%) showing from long range on the night. Yale finished the game just 7-for-22 (31.8%) from deep.
Noah Kirkwood had 18 points and Danilo Djuricic posted a pivotal 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting.
Paul Atkinson had a career-high 28 points on an efficient 11-for-16 from the field predicated upon fleet footwork which consistently befuddled numerous Harvard defenders.
Jordan Bruner was held to three points.
Harvard outrebounded Yale, 35-30, a feat almost never accomplished at JLA. The Elis trailed 71-59 with 5:42 to play but clawed back with 11 points from Swain the rest of the way, including three triples in the final 2:25. Yale had just dug too deep a hole.
“We need to get contributions from everyone,” Yale coach James Jones said.
“It was hard-fought,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “We were fortunate to win.”
Yale now sits at 16-5 and 4-1 in the Ivy and Harvard at 14-6 and 3-2.
It was the Azar Swain show on Saturday night at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
The junior guard torched Cornell for 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting and 6-for-8 from three-point land as Yale beat Cornell, 86-71, before a crowd of 1,506. Cornell hung tight in the first half and was only behind at the end of the half by a 42-39 score. The Big Red made a run in the second half, but whenever things got tight, Swain seemed to come up with a big three.