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Bulldogs Host Columbia, Cornell

Miye Oni (Steve Musco photo)
Miye Oni (Steve Musco photo)

Friday's Game Vs. Columbia Televised By SNY; Saturday Is Youth Night Vs. Cornell

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs return to the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater inside Payne Whitney Gym this weekend for a pair of important Ivy League games. Yale hosts Columbia on Friday at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised by SNY in addition to being available on the Ivy League Network. On Saturday, the Bulldogs have a date with Cornell. That is also a 7 p.m. tip and the ILN has the exclusive video. It also will be Youth Night which features a post-game autograph session.

As the mid-point of league play approaches, it appears there will be a real battle for the four spots in the Ivy Tournament in March. Penn sits atop the league at 6-0, but the Quakers have played five of their games at home. Harvard is in second place at 5-1, and there are five teams – Brown (3-3), Princeton (3-3), Columbia (3-3), Yale (2-4) and Cornell (2-4) – all within a game of each other.

In the first month of the Ivy season, there have been 11 games decided by five points or less. The Bulldogs have been involved in a number of them. Their four league losses have come by a combined 15 points, including one-point at Brown, two points at home to Harvard and three points in overtime at Princeton.

Two Bulldogs have increased their production considerably since the start of Ivy play. Trey Phills is averaging 15.5 points in league games, nearly 10 more than he averaged during the non-conference season. Phills also is grabbing 8.0 rebounds per game and has 12 assists in lvy play. Alex Copeland is scoring at a 16.3 ppg. clip in six league games, up from 11.1 ppg. Copeland is shooting 55.2 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the foul line in league games.

Yale also has been better on defense, limiting its Ivy opponents to just 43.5 percent shooting after allowing its non-league opponents to shoot nearly 47 percent.

First year Paul Atkinson is coming off the best game of his young career. He scored 20 points, matching his career high, and grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds vs. Penn. It was his first double-double. Atkinson, who was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll, leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage at .679.

The Bulldogs remain the Ivy leader in assists (16.5 per game) and are second in field goal percentage (.467) and 3-pt field goal percentage defense (.339).

Yale has three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Miye Oni at 14.9 ppg. Copeland (12.6 ppg.) and Blake Reynolds (10.3 ppg.) are the others.

Following this weekend, Yale has four straight road games, starting Feb. 16 at Dartmouth.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale has won eight of the last nine meetings with Columbia at Lee Amphitheater, including a 75-71 victory last year in the regular season finale. Blake Reynolds scored 16 points and Alex Copeland added 13 to lead the way. That win completed a season sweep of the Lions. The Bulldogs won 87-78 in New York City. Overall, Yale has four straight victories over Columbia. The first meeting between the teams came in 1902, a 48-3 Yale victory.

The Bulldogs have won the last nine meetings with Cornell, including a 90-63 victory last year that clinched a spot for Yale in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament. Yale has swept the season series from the Big Red in each of the last three years. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 112-110. The first meeting came in 1899, a 49-7 Yale victory.

SCOUTING COLUMBIA

The Lions (6-13, 3-3 Ivy) are coming off an impressive home sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth last weekend. Columbia features one of the top scorers in the Ivy League in Mike Smith, who is tied for fourth at 17.4 ppg. Quinton Adlesh (11.6 ppg.) and Lukas Meisner (11.3 ppg.) also average double figures in scoring. Meisner is second in the league in rebounding (6.8 rpg.). The Lions lead the Ivy League in 3-point makes (10.3) and are ranked 18th nationally in that category. Columbia has knocked down at least 10 treys in 14 of its 19 contests.

SCOUTING CORNELL

The Big Red (8-11, 2-4 Ivy) is coming off a home split with a win over Dartmouth (86-85) and a narrow loss to Harvard (76-73) last weekend. Cornell, which plays at Brown on Friday, is led by Matt Morgan, the eighth-leading scorer in the country (23.5 ppg.). He has reached double figures in scoring in a school-record 42 consecutive games after scoring 16 points against Harvard. After missing much of the preseason due to injury, junior Stone Gettings is averaging 16.7 ppg., 6.4 rpg. and 2.6 apg. in just 24.6 minutes per contest. The Big Red is second in the Ivy League, trailing only Yale, in assists (16.2 per game).

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