Yale men “locked in” to hand Princeton its first Ivy defeat

Matt Knowling tied a collegiate career scoring high with 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting in Yale’s win at Princeton Saturday. (Photo by Erica Denhoff)

Remember the name Matt Knowling.

The sophomore Bulldog in his first year of collegiate play was 2020 Connecticut Player of the Year at East Catholic High School.

On Saturday, Knowling posted 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting and led Yale to an 80-74 win at Jadwin Gym over a Princeton squad that entered the game undefeated in Ivy play. It was Yale’s seventh straight win over the Tigers and a very satisfying one for James Jones.

Some Ivy pundits had penciled Princeton in as the presumptive Ivy champion. Not so fast.

Princeton (15-4, 5-1 Ivy) opened the game on a dunk off of the opening tip. Yale (10-9, 4-1) went on a 13-0 run to grab a 19-6 lead on a Matt Cotton three with 12:05 remaining in the first half. Princeton turned the ball over five times during the Yale run and didn’t score for five minutes.

At the 11:43 mark, Princeton standout Tosan Evbuomwan picked up his second foul and went to the bench. Yale led 23-10 before Jaelin Llewellyn scored five straight. The Tigers cut if further to 25-19 before Yale closed out the half, outscoring Princeton, 18-7.

Yale led at the half, 43-26. The Elis outshot the Tigers, 51.7% to 30.8%, also outrebounding them, 22-14. The Tigers were a woeful 7-for-14 from the charity stripe.

Princeton came out on a 9-2 run at 17:40 of the second half on a Drew Friberg three and closed to 47-41 on a Ryan Langborg trey at 16:20.

Yale then went on its own 15-4 run and led 66-52 on a long-range August Mahoney three.

Llewellyn made three straight treys to cut the Yale lead to 74-70 with 1:29 remaining. Llewellyn led Princeton with 23 points on 6-for-12 shooting from three.

An Evbuomwan layup with 31 seconds left trimmed Yale’s lead to 76-74, but the Tigers could not convert further. Yale closed out the win from the charity stripe.

First-year guard Bez Mbeng played tenacious defense for Yale and collected rebounds to go with his 10 points.

It was Yale’s seventh straight win over Princeton and snapped Princeton’s 10-game winning streak.

“Our defense had great energy all night,” Jones said. “We were locked in.”

3 thoughts on “Yale men “locked in” to hand Princeton its first Ivy defeat”

  1. After reading this recap you would not know that the Tigers outscored the Bulldogs from the field. Free throw shooting was a high-schoolish 8 of 18. Yale played a very good game and clearly deserved the win. This ain’t over…..

  2. I agree with George. Princeton won the second half of the game decisively (48-37), which I think was important for the Tigers to do, especially on their home court. After being out played for most of the game, they showed that they can compete with Yale, which is important psychologically for the Tigers. The FT shooting problems have been persistent for Princeton, a problem they have managed to overcome in previous close games. Tosan especially MUST improve his shooting from the line for the Tigers to win future contests against Yale (and other contenders in a League filled with parity). But ultimately, Princeton knows that it didn’t play anything close to its best game against the Eli and yet they still had a chance to win. Hopefully, they are saving their best game for the finale at Lavietes Pavilion on March 13.

  3. My son’s high school girls team beat mine on Tuesday by making 23 of 25, including their last 22 straight. I sent that stat to Mitch, who took the news well but was not amused!

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