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Season Ends With Visits From Columbia, Cornell

Rhett Anderson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Rhett Anderson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Seek Top-Half Ivy Finish For 10th Straight Year

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The 115th season of Yale men's basketball comes to a conclusion with visits from Columbia and Cornell this weekend. Tipoff both Friday and Saturday nights is slated for 7 p.m. Seniors Josh Davis, Jordan Gibson, Paul Nelson and Alex Zampier will be honored prior to Saturday's game with first-place Cornell. The Class of 2010 has combined to lead the Bulldogs to 51 victories and two second-place finishes in the Ivy League. Yale (11-18, 5-7 Ivy) enters the final weekend this year in a tie with Brown for fourth place. The Bulldogs have finished fourth or better in each of the last nine years. Yale needs to sweep the weekend to extend its streak with a .500 or better Ivy record to 10 straight seasons. The Bulldogs played one of their best games of the season in the first meeting with Columbia, a 79-64 victory. Yale scored 48 points in the first half and outrebounded the Lions 46-27 in the game. Michael Sands posted double-doubles in both games last weekend, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Dartmouth and getting 11 points and 10 rebounds against Harvard. Zampier leads the Bulldogs in scoring (17.2 ppg.). The last Yale player to average at least 17 points in a season was Paul Maley, who averaged 20.2 in 1987-88.


The Yale University Athletics Department is teaming up with the Yale-New Haven Hospital Auxiliary "Toy Closets" program by collecting new, unwrapped toys at Friday's game with Columbia. Fans attending the contest may bring a donation to Lee Amphitheater on game day in exchange for one complimentary general admission ticket per donation. The Yale-New Haven Hospital Auxiliary's Toy Closets program was developed to provide new, age-appropriate and educational toys to pediatric patients at the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. Founded in 1993 by Ann Nyberg, WTNH News Channel 8 anchorwoman, the Toy Closets help insure that pediatric patients come away from their hospitalization with a pleasant memory. In addition, the toys serve as gifts for special occasions such as birthdays and holiday celebrations for hospitalized children.


Before every home Ivy League game, Yale Basketball Association members, season ticket holders and corporate sponsors are invited to join the Ivy Lounge, located on the concourse of Lee Amphitheater behind the skyboxes, opposite the main entrance. Enjoy pre-game appetizers, soft drinks, beer and wine beginning a half-hour before the game and continuing throughout the game.


The Bulldogs are looking to sweep the season series from Columbia for the first time since 2006. Friday is the 14th meeting between Yale head coach James Jones and his younger brother Joe, who is in his seventh year at the helm of Columbia's program. Yale has won eight of the games. The Bulldogs have won seven of the last eight meetings with Cornell at Lee Amphitheater. Yale has swept the Columbia-Cornell home weekend six times under James Jones.


The Lions (10-16, 4-8 Ivy) earned their first season sweep of Penn since 1968 with last Friday's 56-55 victory. Brian Grimes's fadeaway 18-footer with two seconds left was the winning basket. Columbia features one of the top scorers in the Ivy League in Noruwa Agho, who is fifth at 16.6 ppg. He scored 30 points in the first meeting with Yale and was 15-of-18 from the foul line.


The Big Red (25-4, 11-1 Ivy) can clinch the outright Ivy League title with a victory at Brown on Friday night. Seniors Ryan Wittman (17.4 ppg.), Jeff Foote (12.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 57 blocks) and Louis Dale (11.4 ppg., 121 assists) are arguably one of the most talented and successful trios in Ivy history. Cornell is second in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.419). The Big Red made 13 three-pointers in the first meeting with Yale.


  • Yale swept the season series from Dartmouth for the third time in the last four years.
  • Dartmouth's 45 points were the fewest the Bulldogs have allowed in a game this season.
  • Head Coach James Jones improved to 18-4 against Dartmouth during his tenure at Yale.
  • Saturday's loss to Harvard snapped the Bulldogs' four-game winning streak at Lavieties Pavilion.


The Bulldogs will open the 2010-11 season against Quinnipiac at the Connecticut 6 Classic at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Other highlights of the schedule include trips to Providence, Boston College, Illinois and Stanford. In addition, non-league foes Army, Hartford, Albany, Sacred Heart and Lehigh will visit Lee Amphitheater.


The state of Connecticut has a rich basketball tradition. A new chapter in that history starts this season with the formation of the Connecticut 6, a partnership between six of Connecticut's Division I schools - Yale, Central Connecticut, Fairfield, Hartford, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart. The inaugural Connecticut 6 Classic tripleheader was Nov. 13 at the Arena at Harbor Yard. The Classic moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville in 2010. In addition to the tripleheader, a preseason All-Connecticut 6 team was selected and there will be a Connecticut 6 Player of the Week chosen each week during the season.


James Jones has made quite an impact on the Yale basketball program. In 10 seasons, Jones has guided Yale to success not seen in New Haven in 40 years. In 2001-02, Jones led the Bulldogs to their first Ivy League title since 1962-63 and the first postseason tournament victory in the 107-year history of Yale basketball. The team won 21 games, the second most in the modern era of Yale basketball, and reached the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. Jones, the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League, earned his 100th victory at Yale when the Bulldogs beat Columbia on Feb. 9, 2007. He is only the fourth coach in school history with at least 100 wins. The Bulldogs have won at least 10 Ivy games twice during his tenure and have had a .500 or better record in league play in each of the last nine years. Three assistant coaches who worked under Jones have gone on to become head coaches - Isaiah Cavaco (Oberlin), Mark Sembrowich (Academy of Arts University) and Mark Gilbride (Clarkson).Jones served as an assistant coach to Villanova's Jay Wright for the 2007 USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team.


Six Yale graduates, all coached by James Jones, are currently playing professional basketball. Edwin Draughan '05 (FOS Ouest, France), Dominick Martin '06 (Illescas CLM, Spain), Matt Kyle '08 (Tunisia), Eric Flato '08 (Plymouth Raiders, England) and Ross Morin '09 (SAM Massagno, Switzerland) are playing overseas, while Travis Pinick '09 was was selected in the eighth round of the 2009 NBA D-League Draft by the Los Angeles D-Fenders.


• The 2009-10 schedule features 31 regular season games, including 12 in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater. It will mark the most games Yale has played in a season since 2001-02 when the Bulldogs finished 21-11.

• The Bulldogs made their second appearance in the Preseason NIT. Yale fell to No. 1 ranked UConn in the tournament to open the 2003-04 season. The Bulldogs played four games in this year's tournament.

• The game with Quinnipiac on Nov. 21 capped a busy day on the Yale campus. The 126th edition of the Yale-Harvard football game was played at noon at Yale Bowl. Yale and Quinnipiac had met only once before, an 87-69 Bobcat win in 1999 in the Phoenix Classic at the Hartford Civic Center.

• Senior Alex Zampier had a homecoming when the Bulldogs visited Albany on Jan. 3. Zampier, an East Greenbush, N.Y., native, graduated as the second all-time leading scorer at Columbia High School with 1,381 points. Yale head coach James Jones is a 1996 Albany graduate. He played for and coached with the legendary Dr. Richard Sauers, one of only seven coaches to win more than 700 games.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity