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Late Spurt Lifts Princeton Over Yale

Trey Phills (Beverly Schaefer photo)
Trey Phills (Beverly Schaefer photo)

Copeland Scores 21 Points To Pace Bulldogs

PRINCETON, N.J. – An early Ivy League showdown featuring two of the preseason favorites went to Princeton. Miles Stephens scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half as the Tigers used a late spurt to edge Yale 66-58 at Jadwin Gym.

Alex Copeland scored 21 points to pace the Bulldogs, who played without senior captain Anthony Dallier, sidelined with a stomach bug.

Princeton (10-6) improved to 3-0 in Ivy play, while Yale (9-6) dropped to 1-1 after its opening league weekend.

The game was a back-and-forth affair that featured five ties and 15 lead changes.

A Copeland jumper gave the Bulldogs their final lead, 54-53 with 3:04 remaining. The Tigers, though, scored 11 straight points over the next 2:30. Jordan Bruner stopped the run with a layup but by then the damage had been done.

"We showed our youth and inexperience tonight," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "A close game tipped in their favor somewhat because they have juniors and seniors."

Bruner was the only other Bulldog to reach double figures in scoring. He finished with 15 points and added six rebounds. Trey Phills scored eight points, and Sam Downey had seven points and eight rebounds.

Yale, which entered the game leading the Ivy League in field goal percentage, shot just 38.9 percent from the field.

"They [Princeton] did a good job of keeping us out of the stuff we wanted to run," Jones said. "We had more turnovers [14] than we would like and that hurt us."

Princeton, who has played its three league games at home, wasn't much more accurate. The Tigers shot just 38.7 percent but were better down the stretch. After hitting only 1-of-15 shots from three-point range in the first half, Princeton was 6-of-9 from beyond the arc in the second half. Two of the treys came during the late 11-0 run.

"We made a couple of mental mistakes," said Copeland, who was 8-of-17 from the field. "We did a poor job scrambling on defense."

Amir Bell gave the Tigers a lift off the bench, scoring 17 points. Steven Cook added 11 and Spencer Weisz contributed 10.

Yale had the largest lead by either team in the first half, 13-9, after a Copeland three-pointer with 12:05 left. The half ended, though, with a driving layup from Bell that sent the Tigers to the locker room with a 24-22 lead.

"It was a battle back and forth all night, a good college basketball game," Jones said.

NOTES: Phills did an excellent defensive job on Princeton's Devin Cannady, who was limited to seven points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field… New Mexico State squeaked out a five-point win over CSU Bakersfield to earn its 21st straight home victory so Yale's 20-game home winning streak is now the fifth longest in the nation… The Bulldogs entered the game with 235 fouls, which was the second fewest in the nation… Yale held an opponent under 40 percent from the field for the sixth time in its last eight games… The Bulldogs are back on the road on Friday, travelling to Brown. Tip is slated for 8 p.m. following the Yale-Brown women's game which is a 5:30 p.m. start.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity