Colorado Holds Off Yale 70-59

Paul Nelson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Season-High 30 Turnovers Spoil Upset Bid

BOULDER, Colo.  - Yale did a number of things well in Tuesday's game with Colorado. The Bulldogs held the Buffaloes to 40 percent from the field, nearly 10 percent below their season average, and outrebounded them 41-37. Yale, though, did not do a good job of taking care of the basketball, and it was costly. The Bulldogs committed a season-high 30 turnovers, which led to 29 of the Buffs' points, and dropped a 70-59 decision before a crowd of 4,819 at the Coors Events Center.

"You're not going to beat a team when you have 30 turnovers," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "We did a poor job of handling pressure and getting the ball where it needed to go."

Cory Higgins scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to lead Colorado (8-4). Alec Burks added 19 points and Marcus Relphorde had 15 points and six rebounds.

Michael Sands and Porter Braswell each scored 13 points to lead Yale (4-8). Paul Nelson added 12 points and 13 rebounds, both career highs. Alex Zampier, who entered the game leading the Ivy League in scoring, was held to seven points, nearly 11 below his average, by a tenacious Buffs defense.

The Bulldogs cut a 12-point second-half deficit to six, 60-54, on Zampier's layup and steal with 3:13 remaining. Colorado, though, scored the next four points, all from the free throw line, to seal the victory.

The Buffaloes outscored Yale 27-14 from the foul line in the game.

For the second straight game, the Bulldogs started strong. Braswell's three-pointer from the right gave Yale an 18-8 lead midway through the first half. Colorado, though, held the Bulldogs scoreless for the next eight minutes and scored 12 consecutive points. The Buffs went ahead by three, before a thunderous Nelson dunk in the final minute cut the lead to 26-25 at halftime.

Yale had a 23-11 edge in rebounding in the first half, but had 16 turnovers. Colorado made only eight field goals in the first half and missed all six of its three-point attempts.

"I thought we defended well in the half court," Jones said. "Their 1-3-1 defense helped get them turnovers and some easy baskets."

There were four ties and eight lead changes in the game.

Nelson's 12-point, 13-rebound effort was the second double-double of his career. He made five of his six shots from the field.

"My focus every game is to get offensive and defensive rebounds," said Nelson, who leads the team in rebounding (7.3 rpg.). "I think that helps my offensive game."

The Bulldogs are back in action on Thursday when they play at Colorado State. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. EST.

"We're close to being a pretty good basketball team," Jones said. "There are just some things we need to clean up."

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity