Yale won’t be making an Ivy League Tournament appearance in coach Dalila Eshe’s first season at the helm after finishing fifth in the conference, but the Bulldogs came through on Senior Day with a 63-53 victory over Brown before many program alumni Saturday at John J. Lee Amphitheater.
The only senior captain for Yale (13-14, 7-7 Ivy), Camilla Emsbo, was honored before the game. Emsbo was injured all season and will compete at Duke next year as a graduate student.
Editor’s note: Ivy Hoops Online writers George “Toothless Tiger” Clark and Richard Kent deliver audio and written recaps, respectively, of Yale’s stunning second-half offensive outburst that secured a win over Princeton:
A few things had to go well for Yale to beat Penn last night at John J. Lee Amphitheater and keep its Ivy League title hopes alive.
Sophomore guard Bez Mbeng played lockdown defense on Penn’s dynamic Jordan Dingle in the second half, holding him to nine points after intermission en route to Yale’s 70-63 win over Penn.
”I love guarding the best player on the other team,” Mbeng said.
”Bez is the best on-ball defender I’ve ever coached,” Yale coach James Jones said, offering high praise in his 24th year at the Bulldogs’ helm after coaching other standout defenders like Trey Phills and Jalen Gabbidon. “He did a fantastic job in the second half on the league’s best offensive player and one of the best in the nation.”
Yale men’s basketball was the clear favorite to claim a fifth Ivy League regular-season crown in the last seven seasons under James Jones.
Suddenly, though, the Bulldogs are 0-2 in Ivy play.
“For the last two hours, I did not see anything which resembled Yale basketball, and tip your cap to Dartmouth,” Jones said after his Bulldogs lost to Dartmouth, 81-77, at John J. Lee Amphitheater Friday night.
Yale had not given up more than 72 points in a game all season.
In fact, Yale (10-5, 0-2) hadn’t lost consecutive Ivy games since March 2019 and had not lost to Dartmouth since March 7, 2015, a game that opened the door for Harvard to tie Yale atop the Ivy standings and win an Ivy playoff game to nab its most recent NCAA Tournament berth.
Dartmouth (5-11, 1-1) held a narrow 34-33 lead at the half. Yale’s shooting woes from three-point land carried over from the Columbia loss last Friday, as the home team shot 0-for-8 from deep in the half. The Bulldogs finished 2-for-14 (14.3%).
Yale fell behind by as many as seven in the second half (54-47) but knotted the score at 58 on a Matt Knowling shot from close range.
Dartmouth then pulled ahead, 77-71. Yale cut it to 79-76 with junior guard August Mahoney on the free throw line with under five seconds remaining. Mahoney made the first and intentionally missed the second, but he committed a lane violation. Then the visitors added two free throws to seal the win.
“Winning games on the road is extremely hard,” Dartmouth coach David McLaughlin said. “We executed well.”
Dartmouth junior forward Dusan Neskovic posted 24 points on 7-for-10 field-goal shooting, including 4-for-4 from three-point range, in a standout performance. Sophomore guard Ryan Cornish contributed 18 points in just 23 minutes.
There were nine ties and nine lead changes.
“We tried to mix up our defenses,” Jones said. “Our team defense was not there.”
Yale was led in scoring by Knowling with 17 points. Sophomore guard Bez Mbeng had 15 and Mahoney 13. Both Mbeng and fellow sophomore guard John Poulakidas fouled out.
Yale is next in action Saturday night at home against Harvard. Dartmouth visits Providence to take on Brown after its overtime loss to Harvard there Friday night.
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.”
Give Felisha Legette-Jack a lot of credit. The first-year Syracuse women’s coach brought a power-conference team into John J. Lee Amphitheater to do battle with Yale.
And the Orange escaped with a 60-58 win.
Yale (4-5) dominated the first half, building a 17-8 lead by the 3:53 mark, holding Syracuse (6-2) to 3-for-16 shooting from the field and converting on three of trey attempts. Yale controlled the tempo and forced Syracuse into a slower style of play.