No. 12 Yale defeats No. 5 Baylor, 79-75, notches first NCAA Tournament win ever

Sophomore guard Makai Mason posted 31 points, six rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers in 39 minutes. (Fansided)
Sophomore guard Makai Mason posted 31 points, six rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers in 39 minutes. (Fansided)

Yale made history just by showing up. Then the Bulldogs made a whole lot more.

In Yale’s first NCAA Tournament game since 1962, the Bulldogs won their first contest in the tourney ever, besting the Bears, 79-75, after leading most of the way in front of a Yale partisan crowd at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

Baylor entered the game with the third-highest offensive rebound percentage in the country and ranked eighth nationally in allowing offensive rebounds, but Yale shared the same strength and proved stronger head-to-head, especially in the first half. The Bulldogs outrebounded Baylor, 36-32, and the Bears collected only nine total rebounds in the first stanza. All five Yale starters collected at least four rebounds, and three – Brandon Sherrod, Nick Victor and Makai Mason – collected six.

And it was Mason who carried the day, making a name for himself on a national stage with a career-high 31 points, including a clutch 11-for-11 performance from the free throw line.


Yale held a 39-34 halftime lead and built a 64-51 lead with 6:54 to go, but Taurean Prince kept the Bears in the game throughout with 28 points on 12-for-24 shooting, including two three-pointers in the final 86 seconds. Those treys gave Baylor a chance to tie or take the lead down 77-75 with six seconds left, but a Lester Medford turnover gave Yale the ball and the win following two deal-sealing free throws from Brandon Sherrod.

The Elis struggled with foul trouble, with Victor, Sherrod and Justin Sears playing the stretch run with four fouls but never fouling out. Sears finished with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

Yale’s second-round opponent Saturday at a time to be announced is No. 4 Duke, which beat Yale, 80-61, in November at Cameron Indoor Stadium, after which Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he would start Justin Sears on his team. Yale jumped out to a 9-0 lead at Cameron and trailed just 38-36 at halftime before Duke iced the game in the second half with superior shooting.

5 thoughts on “No. 12 Yale defeats No. 5 Baylor, 79-75, notches first NCAA Tournament win ever”

  1. Incredibly impressive victory!

    Several thoughts come to mind –

    I wonder if a certain Lions fan thinks differently about Mason after today’s game….

    Mason’s game, similar to Morgan’s at Cornell, seems to have gone up a notch after losing his backcourt partner.

    Sears was really good today. Very glad the missed FT and TO late did not cost them the game.

    Of all the positives today, the most impressive may have been the way that Yale kept control with Downey and Reynolds in for Sherrod and Sears late.

    Early on, it seemed that the missed FTs would come back to hurt them, but they ended up 76%. They had 22 FT vs 9 for Baylor.

    I wonder if bigger name schools will finally start showing interest in James Jones.

    Duke will be a harder game, if only for the fact that Duke will not overlook them, and the Blue Devils will be able to keep its emotions in check (as opposed to the seemingly emotionally fragile Bears). However, the Elis played very well in the first half in Durham, and are playing better ball right now.

  2. While watching the Collumbia – Yale game at Levien, my wife, very early in the game told me that Columbia needs to stop #11 for Yale. Easier said than done, as Baylor also quickly found out when Makai Mason torched them with elbow jumpers and perfect foul shooting. It’s very unusual that you can replace a graduating gamer like Javier Duren, with another gamer, but Yale seems to have done it with Makai Mason- Congratulations!

  3. I just heard from Peter Andrews: “Mason is playing at Lo’s level right now….” I thought the Bulldogs would have a tough time playing well without Duren this year, at least for a while. Boy, was I wrong! Mason was AT LEAST as good as Duren, maybe better. Love Jones’ comments after the game…maybe a good game vs. Duke will get even more attention for our much-abused League….Columbia playing well and the Tigers gave a good ACC team all it wanted on the road. If you don’t think Princeton wins that game at Jadwin, ask the Bulldogs what they think….I hope Jones’ boys grab the Blue Devils by the neck and shake the s**t out of them!!!!!

    • Mason may be playing at Lo level right now, but definitely not at Jerome Allen level.

      With that being stated, he certainly deserved 1st team All-Ivy and his ability to elevate his game over the last several weeks when the team had an even shorter bench has been quite impressive. Funny to think that he was considered, at best, the fourth best rookie in last year’s lvy class

      Jones gave a very good defense of mid-major programs at the press conference. The league has had a significant top-to-bottom improvement over the last 7 years. During that time, the Ivy is 4-3 in first round games. The 3 losses were by a total of 13 points to UNC (#4 seed), Vanderbilt (#5 seed) and Kentucky (#4 seed). It is time that opposing high-major programs and the national basketball media give the league its due and stop being shocked by great performances by very good teams that are typically underseeded.

      While it cannot be said for off the court events, it has been a really great week, on the court, for Ivy League basketball – Columbia’s top three seeding in the CIT and its first round victory, Princeton’s OT road loss against a good Virginia Tech team, Yale’s victory against Baylor, Penn women getting a #10 seed, and Princeton women getting the first ever “at large” bid.

    • I want to be 100% clear that I did not say anything of the sort to Mr. Tiger.

      Mason’s performance yesterday was certainly decent.

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