No. 13 Yale men’s basketball falls to No. 5 San Diego State, 85-57, in NCAA Tournament second round

Yale senior forward Matt Knowling, senior guard August Mahoney and coach James Jones sit for their postgame press conference following an 85-57 loss to San Diego State Sunday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. (March Madness video broadcast)

No. 13 Yale’s NCAA Tournament run ended with a second-round thud Sunday night local time in Spokane, Wash. in an 85-57 loss to No. 5 San Diego State.
The Aztecs, last season’s national runner-up, led from start to finish, fueled by superior shooting throughout the game. SDSU took a 45-21 lead into the half, led by 17 points from senior forward Jaedon LeDee, who was named a second-team All-American by The Sporting News and Field of 68.

The Aztecs had been a poor three-point shooting team (31.8%, 283rd nationally) but shot 13-for-27 (48.1%) Sunday night.

”They played a tremendous game today,” Yale coach James Jones said. “They played well defensively. We struggled to make some shots early.”

SDSU (26-10, 13-8 Mountain West) opened the on a 10-0 run. A trey by senior guard August Mahoney got the Bulldogs on the board.

The Aztecs then went on an 11-0 run to grab a 28-12 lead on a LeDee dunk.

John Poulakidas, who had 28 points against Auburn, was suffocated by Lamont Butler in the half and went scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting. The junior guard finished with nine points.

Sophomore forward Danny Wolf had early trouble guarding LeDee, and Jones brought in Nick Townsend, who picked up two quick fouls. First-year center Samson Aletan was the next man in at the pivot to guard LeDee, who ranks fifth in the country in fouls drawn per 40 minutes, according to KenPom.

Yale (23-10, 13-3 Ivy) was only 4-for-17 from the field in the last 12 minutes of the first half and outscored 13-0 from the bench.

Yale went on an early 7-0 second half run, keyed by a Poulakidas trey to cut the deficit to 53-32.

Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher substituted liberally at the 8:10 mark of the second half.

LeDee had a game-high 26 points on 9-for-12 shooting. Ivy Defensive Player of the Year Bez Mbeng led Yale with 12 points, and Matt Knowling, playing his last game in a Yale uniform, added 11.

Yale was outrebounded 39-25.

The Bulldogs’ 23 wins tied a program record for wins in the modern era.

San Diego State moves on to the Sweet 16 to play overall No. 1 seed and defending national champion Connecticut Thursday evening in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament title game.

“It definitely hurts right now,” Mahoney said at the postgame press conference. “Each and every person in that locker room believed we were going to go out and get the job done today … But this past week or two has been the best weeks of my life, winning the Ivy League [Tournament] championship, how we did it, and then being the second team ever in Yale men’s basketball history to win a NCAA Tournament game, it’s been an unbelievable last week or so. As much as it hurts now, I know I’m going to look back and in a week, a month, a year, 10 years, whatever it is, and just be really proud that I was a member of this basketball team.

2 thoughts on “No. 13 Yale men’s basketball falls to No. 5 San Diego State, 85-57, in NCAA Tournament second round”

  1. Congrats to Yale on a great season. After some bumps, they lived up to and even managed to exceed their very high pre-season expectations. The game yesterday is somewhat reminiscent of what happened to Princeton in 1996. The Tigers, also a no. 13 seed, famously knocked off no. 4 UCLA in the first round only to be smoked in the second round by no. 5 Mississippi State. That second round loss hasn’t mattered as time has marched on — it’s that initial upset that endures and the same will be true of Yale’s monumental upset of Auburn. Yale did the Ivy League proud.

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