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Balanced Attack Leads Yale Over Columbia

Trey Phills (dspics.com)
Trey Phills (dspics.com)

Career Nights For Reynolds, Phills

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Yale found itself in very unfamiliar territory at halftime of Friday's game at Columbia. The Bulldogs were being badly outrebounded. It turned in a big way in the second half and the results were quite impressive. Yale scored 49 points, held the Lions to 39 percent from the field and controlled the boards in rolling to an 87-78 victory, silencing a near sellout crowd of 2,187 at Levien Gym.

"Columbia likes to attack the glass," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "We were able to hold them to four offensive rebounds in the second half, which made all the difference."

As has become Yale's mantra, there were a number of contributors. Miye Oni scored a team-high 22 points, while Blake Reynolds and Trey Phills both had career nights. Phills scored 19 points, surpassing his previous career-high of 16 set last Friday in a home win over Brown, while Reynolds, who had been in a bit of a scoring slump, added 18 points.

Yale entered the night with five players averaging double figures in scoring, and Phills and Reynolds weren't among them, which speaks to the Bulldogs' depth and balance.

"We are fortunate to have a lot of good players," Jones said. "On a given night, any player can step up."

Phills was 5-of-10 from the field, including hitting a pair of three-pointers.

"I told Trey in the locker room that his career game last week was overshadowed [by Anthony Dallier's 30-point performance]," Jones said. "Trey was tremendous [tonight]."

Added Phills, "I pride myself on defense, but I've been trying to be more aggressive on offense, going to the rim and hitting jump shots."

Phills also has been hot from the free throw line, making all seven of his attempts after going 9-for-9 last Friday.

"Coach [Matt] Kingsley has us shooting a lot of extra free throws at the end of practice and it's helped me out especially," Phills said.

Reynolds did much of his damage from beyond the three-point line. He was 3-of-5 from downtown and 7-of-11 overall.

"It felt really good to knock down some shots," he said. "I took a lot of extra shots [this week], probably twice as many [as normal]."

Sam Downey added 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, while Dallier contributed nine points, six assists and four rebounds.

Luke Petrasek paced Columbia (9-9, 3-2 Ivy) with 24 points, and Mike Smith added 15.

The Bulldogs (12-6 overall) have won 10 of their last 12 games, and more importantly are 4-1 in Ivy League play.

The Lions had 10 offensive rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, which they turned into 12 second-chance points.

The Bulldogs, though, shot 52 percent in the first half and found themselves only trailing by two, 40-38, at the break.

Columbia had its biggest lead of the game, 56-51, with 12:39 left, but Yale responded with an 11-0 run.

The Lions got back within two, 69-67, with 5:38 remaining, but the Bulldogs scored the next seven points to regain control. Columbia never got closer than five the rest of the way.

Yale limited Columbia to 12 field goals in the second half.

"We did a good job of not letting them get to where they wanted to be," Reynolds said.

NOTES: The Bulldogs had 22 assists on their 27 field goals… Jordan Bruner had four more blocked shots, giving him 38 for the season in 14 games… Oni paced Yale with eight rebounds… The Bulldogs were 23-of-26 from the free throw line… Yale is off to a strong start in the The Coaches vs. Cancer 3-Point Challenge. The Bulldogs made 10 three-pointers. Fans can make a pledge for each 3-point shot the Bulldogs make from February 1st – March 4th by visiting https://pledgeit.org/cvc-yale. Each donation will support the American Cancer Society's research, education and patient programs… Yale is at Cornell on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Big Red fell to Brown on Friday… Following Saturday's game, the Bulldogs will have played five of their six Ivy games on the road.

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