Remember Yale’s romp over Vermont last month?
Yale was down at the half by 30-27 and blitzed Vermont 46-14 in the second half. The Elis played a similar game against Fairfield at the Leo D. Mahoney Arena last night, winning 77-64 after being down 29-24 at intermission.
In a game marred by 41 foul calls and 55 free throws, Yale shot 62% in the second half in an eventually dominant win.
Fairfield (4-7) opened up a 14-5 lead, and it looked like the Bulldogs were still jet-lagged from their long trip back from Lexington, Ky. after a loss to the Wildcats, which included a three-hour layover in Raleigh, N.C.
”We got off to another slow start and we didn’t react well to it,” coach James Jones said. “[In] the second half, we got to play more Yale basketball.”
The Elis came out in the second half hitting on all cylinders. They grabbed their first lead at 40-38 on an old-fashioned three-point play from John Poulakidas.
They extended it to 55-49 on a 5=five-point possession resulting from a flagrant-one call on Fairfield which culminated in two free throws and an August Mahoney trey.
Mahoney extended it to 60-50 on another trey and Yale never looked back.
EJ Jarvis got mired in early foul trouble and fouled out with five minutes remaining, but Yussif Basa-Ama picked up the slack inside and snared a game-high 12 rebounds.
Fairfield managed only two field goals in the last 12 minutes.
Bez Mbeng led Yale with a career-high 20 points, many of which were earned knifing through the Stag defense.
”He’s very fast, he’s physical,” Fairfield coach Jay Young said of Mbeng. “He changes the game.”
It was Yale’s 12th straight win over an in-state opponent. Yale last played Fairfield in 2015. Fairfield will make a return trip to John J. Lee Amphitheater next season.
Yale now has a lofty NET of 48, higher than the likes of Penn State, Oklahoma, Michigan State, North Carolina State and Oregon. Princeton is the next Ivy at 68.
So what have we learned about the Elis, with one remaining out-of-conference opponent (Monmouth, December 22), before they travel to Columbia on December 31?
First, they’re deep, especially in the frontcourt. Jones employs a rotation of 10 players logging 12-plus minutes a game. And they crash the boards as well, if not better than, recent Yale teams, outrebounding their opponents by 10 per game.