Yale men’s basketball tops Princeton, 70-64, to move to 5-0 in Ivy League play

The Princeton-Yale men’s basketball showdown lived up to its lofty expectations as the Ivy League game of the year to date and then some.

The Bulldogs defeated the Tigers, 70-64, before a standing-room-only and boisterous whiteout crowd of 2,532 at John J. Lee Amphitheater.

“[The] atmosphere was tremendous,” Yale coach James Jones said. “There were times when you felt the crowd.”

The Tigers (15-3, 3-2 Ivy) raced out to a 32-23 lead on a sophomore forward Caden Pierce trey.

The Bulldogs (14-6, 5-0) cut the halftime deficit to 35-30 on a sophomore center Danny Wolf block on the defensive end and a 94-foot drive to the basket for a lay-in.

The Tigers were 9-for-15 from trey in the opening stanza, with sophomore guard Xaivian Lee going 3-for-3 from deep on a series of off-balance athletic moves. Princeton’s leading scorer finished the half with 11 points.

Wolf finished the half with 10 points but was often stifled at the hoop by Princeton double teams.

Yale’s defense was far more aggressive in the second half as the home team held the sharpshooting Tigers to only 22% shooting (4-for-18) from deep.

Junior guard and reigning Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Bez Mbeng menaced Lee most of the second half and held him to 1-for-4 three-point shooting.

Lee said that Mbeng “is a really tough, great defender.”

Yale knotted the score at 40 on a nifty assist from Wolf to Mbeng and took the lead at 46-44 on junior guard John Poulakidas’ only trey of the night.

Yale went up 61-54 on a senior guard August Mahoney’s trey.

Three free throws by Blake Peters off a Mbeng foul cut it to 66-64, but two free throws by Mbeng put the game out of reach.

Yale has won its first five Ivy games for the first time since 2015-16, when the Elis went 13-1.

Princeton has now lost consecutive Ivy road games.

Wolf finished with a game high 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Pierce led Princeton with 20 points and Lee added 18.

Yale outscored Princeton 34-16 in the paint and outrebounded the Tigers 37-31.

Yale hosts Penn and Princeton travels to Brown Saturday night, both at 7 p.m. in the first Ivy back-to-back weekend.

3 thoughts on “Yale men’s basketball tops Princeton, 70-64, to move to 5-0 in Ivy League play”

  1. Only six games into the Ivy season and Princeton has already lost control of their destiny in terms of their quest for a three-peat

  2. Steve, I’d call it a scheduling quirk that had the Tigers playing at Cornell and at Yale within their first five league games. I’d be stunned if anyone ends the season with fewer than two losses—Cornell was fortunate to pull out a win last night against Dartmouth. The Tigers are in fine shape.

  3. Jim, my concern is two-fold. First, who besides Princeton (when Yale visits Jadwin), is going to beat Yale? And even if Yale loses a second conference game (possibly at Cornell), Princeton probably has to be perfect the rest of the way, which seems unlikely to me given how hard it is to win on the road in the IL. True, Princeton has already played (and lost) its two toughest road games in the league. But with road games remaining at Penn, at Harvard, and at Dartmouth (who gives PU fits), and two 50-50 upcoming matchups at home versus Cornell and Yale, not to mention a season closer versus arch rival Penn, it’s not very likely that the Tigers go 8-0 down the stretch. And if Princeton does go 7-1 in their remaining 8 games, both Cornell and Yale would have to absorb at least 3 losses in their remaining 8 games, which simply is not very likely in my opinion. Of course, anything is possible and I’m sure the Tigers will continue to fight hard to the end for a third straight title. But they need a good bit of help at this point, which is unfortunate. They really needed to win one of those two road games at Cornell and Yale.

Comments are closed.