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Career Night From Phills Lifts Yale Over Brown In Ivy Opener

Trey Phills (Steve Musco photo)
Trey Phills (Steve Musco photo)

Scores Career-High 23 Points As Bulldogs Knock Off Bears

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It sure wasn't easy, but Yale is off and running in Ivy League play. Trey Phills scored a career-high 23 points and Miye Oni added 17 points and two big steals in the final minute as the Bulldogs earned a hard-fought 78-72 victory over Brown in the Ivy opener for both teams at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Phills was 6-of-9 from the field, went 10-of-10 from the free throw line, grabbed seven rebounds and had five assists in 34 minutes to spark Yale (8-9, 1-0 Ivy).

"Trey was brilliant," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "Defensively, he made it tough for them to get shots. He's our best on-the-ball defender. Offensively he played with energy and was aggressive, which made all the difference."

Yale led for nearly 38 minutes of the 40 minutes, including by 14 midway through the first half, but couldn't shake the pesky Bears (7-7, 0-1 Ivy).

Brown's only lead of the game, 47-46, came after a Joshua Howard three-pointer early in the second half.

Yale answered with an 8-1 run and pushed the lead back to eight before the Bears rallied again.

Brown had a chance to tie with 29 seconds remaining, but Obi Okolie made only one of two free throws. Phills then sank two free throws with 24 seconds left. That's when Oni went to work on the defensive end. With the Bears needing a three-pointer to tie, Oni stole the ball from Desmond Cambridge with 11 seconds left.

"I knew he was looking for a three," Oni said of Cambridge. "When he didn't have it initially, I thought he would try a cross over, and I was able to put my hand in there."

Oni hit one of two of free throws to give Yale a four-point lead and then sealed the victory with another steal with six seconds left.

That was part of a strong defensive effort from the Bulldogs, who limited the Bears to 38.5 percent from the field in the second half.

"It was better tonight than it has been," Jones said. "The guys have learned. We have to work together to get stops. I hope we continue to get better."

Alex Copeland also was in double figures for Yale, finishing with 10 points. Paul Atkinson and Azar Swain each added nine, and Blake Reynolds contributed eight points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Yale shot 50 percent from the field but committed 20 turnovers.

The Bulldogs also controlled the boards, outrebounding the Bears 40-27.

"We're getting back to what we do," said Jones, whose team has led the Ivy League in rebounding margin in each of the last six years.

Brandon Anderson paced Brown with 22 points.

Yale has now won its Ivy opener in each of the last five seasons.

"It's nice to be starting the new season," Phills said. "There are a lot of teams that are evenly matched."

NOTES: Oni is making a habit of big plays late in games against Brown. Last year in Providence, he made four three-pointers in the final 3:29 in a 75-74 Yale victory… Phills made six free throws in the final 1:09 of the second half… The Bulldogs have now won eight straight games over the Bears in Lee Amphitheater… The same two teams will meet again in Providence next Friday. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. following the Yale-Brown women's game which starts at 5:30 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (, Yale Sports Publicity