Yale all-time moment No. 8: Elis tie Bill Bradley and company

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Yale is next by request of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears.

The 1962-63 Yale Bulldogs were solid.

Fresh off a NCAA Tournament appearance the previous year and led by legend Rick Kaminsky, the Elis finished 13-10, and more importantly, 11-3 in Ivy play, including a 62-61 win at Jadwin Gym (capping a four-game win streak over Princeton).

The first-year varsity star Bill Bradley-led Tigers had their revenge, though, nipping the Elis, 61-58, in New Haven on Feb. 9 and again in the Ivy playoff game on March 9, 65-53. Thus the 1962-63 season marked the first non-NCAA Tournament season in a 53-season streak that is still running. Still, the 1963 Elis won a share of the Ivy League championship and cemented their place in Ivy history.

Yale all-time moment No. 9: The Bulldogs put the ‘P’ in sweep

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Yale is next by request of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears.

On the weekend of Feb. 18-19, 2002, Yale did something it hadn’t done in 14 years: It pulled off a home sweep of Penn and Princeton.

Huge crowds at Payne Whitney Gym got to see the Elis sweep the Ps in the middle of a seven-game Ivy win streak en route to a three-way tie atop the conference with … well, Penn and Princeton. By virtue of tiebreakers, Yale had to defeat Princeton before squaring off with Penn with a NCAA Tournament appearance on the line. The Elis fell to Penn, 77-58, but they weren’t done just yet. Led by four players with scoring averages in double figures (Edwin Draughan, Alex Gamboa, T.J. McHugh and Paul Vitelli), Yale still had postseason power to spare. More on that still to come in the countdown.

Yale all-time moment No. 10: John Lee's 1957 season

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Yale is next by request of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears, who is sure to show up on this list at some point himself:

It isn”t the John J. Lee Amphitheater for nothing.

After gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated in January and averaging over 24 points per game in Ivy play, Lee led his Yale team to the 1957 NCAA Tournament, where the Elis fell at Madison Square Garden to highly regarded North Carolina, 90-74, despite Lee”s 25-point performance.

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A word with Ivy Coach of the Year James Jones

Your inaugural Ivy Coach of the Year, folks. (yalebulldogs.com)
Your inaugural Ivy Coach of the Year, folks. (yalebulldogs.com)

Our Richard Kent caught up with Yale head coach and freshly minted Ivy Coach of the Year James Jones in preparation for the Bulldogs’ playoff with Harvard Saturday at the Palestra.

IHO: How is the preparation different when you play a team as much as you have played Harvard this year?

JJ: No difference, just a little more rest time this week with only one game.

IHO: What do you see as the key to Saturday’s game?

JJ: Rebounding and transition defense. We have to control the glass again and not allow them to score in transition.

IHO: What has the response been from alumni, students and fans this week?

JJ: Everyone is super-excited about the opportunity and the season the team has had thus far.

 

Five keys to the game for Yale vs. Harvard

Can Justin Sears lead Yale to its first NCAA tourney berth since John F. Kennedy was president? (Yale Athletics)
Can Justin Sears lead Yale to its first NCAA tourney berth since John F. Kennedy was president? (Yale Athletics)

The winner of Yale-Harvard in Boston Friday night will subsequently be just one further win away from a NCAA tournament berth. Harvard went dancing last year, while Yale hasn’t since 1962. For the Elis to finally get that March Madness monkey off their backs, here’s what they have to do:

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Yale explodes in second half, defeats Princeton

NEW HAVEN – Yale found a gear which it probably didn’t know that it had Friday night and a scoreboard-watching crowd added to the excitement at Payne Whitney Gym.
The Bulldogs were down to Princeton 47-39 with 13:41 remaining and then all of a sudden they went on a 42-13 offensive tear to defeat the Tigers, 81-60.
Princeton was defenseless against the onslaught. Justin Sears refused to be denied during that stretch, which James Jones characterized as, along with an earlier season win over Lafayette, the best stretch in a game of the season. Sears finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds and seemed to be all over the court.

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Q&A with Princeton coach Courtney Banghart

Courtney Banghart can't stop winning. (goprincetontigers.com)
Courtney Banghart can’t stop winning. (goprincetontigers.com)

Our Richard Kent caught up with Princeton women’s hoops coach Courtney Banghart, whose No. 16 Tigers are 24-0 with just six regular-season games left. Princeton’s 56-50 win at Yale last Saturday was its closest margin of victory all season.

IHO: Did Yale present any problems which were unanticipated?

CB: Yale played a really solid game. They were physical and ran with us on both ends. They made tough shots and capitalized on a sub par defensive night for us. On the offensive end, we forced too many early shots — albeit shots that we make on a regular night. When we moved the ball deeper into the possession we had more success. Our starting guards didn’t play well, but our posts were the difference. Sometimes, the reverse is true. That’s why they call it a team.

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Yale will need help in the Ivy title race

Sure it was a strange game, but Yale survived and beat Princeton by a healthy margin on the road. They easily dismantled Penn the night before.
Harvard had more than trouble at home with Columbia on Friday night and was behind Cornell at the half on Saturday.
If the Ivies were decided by margin of victories, Yale would win the crown in March. Harvard has struggled with Columbia, Princeton and Brown. Yale has gone through its Ivy schedule with relative ease.
Notwithstanding Yale’s win last year at Harvard, the Crimson represent a bad matchup for the Bulldogs. The Crimson are good at locking down Justin Sears, rebound better than Yale and invariably win the point guard battle.
So what is the point? Simple: Yale will need some help to win the Ivies. That help should have come in the form of Brown in Providence, but Harvard came home there with an unlikely win.

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Coach James Jones breaks down Yale’s breakdown

James Jones' Bulldogs scored just 11 points in the first half of their loss to Harvard. (vnews.com)
James Jones’ Bulldogs scored just 11 points in the first half of their loss to Harvard. (vnews.com)

IHO caught up with Yale coach James Jones after the Bulldogs’ 52-50 loss to Harvard Saturday night, which allowed the Crimson to tie Yale atop the conference standings.

IHO: Did Harvard do anything special to stop [Justin] Sears, who only had nine points?

JJ: Nothing really special, but they did get him out of the box.

IHO: How do you account for a 16-11 halftime score?

JJ: Both teams came out and let the moment get the best of them.

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Yale holds off Columbia, 63-59, Justin Sears dominates

Even Justin Sears' stat line doesn't do justice to how clutch he was at Levien Gym Saturday. (Fred Beckham/AP)
Even Justin Sears’ stat line doesn’t do justice to how clutch he was at Levien Gym Saturday. (Fred Beckham/AP)

Last year, Yale made the trek to Columbia and got blown out. But that was on a Saturday night, after the long ride back from Cornell.

This year Yale got Columbia on a Friday and made the best of it with an exciting 63-59 win, which left Yale as the only undefeated Ivy, a strange stat for just three games into the Ivy season.

Justin Sears was far and away the best player on the court, with 28 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, two steals, two assists and zero turnovers, in addition to a game-saving block of an attempted three-pointer by Columbia standout Maodo Lo.

Javier Duren made clutch free throws down the stretch.

Yale got off to a slow start but still led 35-32 at the half. The Elis built a large lead to start the second half, but Columbia fought back with a barrage of threes, to cut the deficit to 58-57. The Lions were unable to take the lead as Yale closed them out from the charity stripe.

The game was played before a near sellout and very vocal crowd.

Yale made the ride to Cornell last night and Columbia faces a Brown team reeling from a player defection (leading scorer Leland King) and a squandered lead at Cornell.

It is tough to believe that the Elis can run the string undefeated in a very competitive Ivy League.