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Atkinson Scores Career-High 23 Points; Yale’s Winning Streak At Three

Paul Atkinson (Steve Musco photo)
Paul Atkinson (Steve Musco photo)

Bulldogs Rout Iona 99-84

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale will take a bunch of positive momentum into the holiday break. Paul Atkinson scored a career-high 23 points as the Bulldogs won their third straight game, knocking off Iona 99-84 in a Saturday matinee at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Atkinson, who leads the Ivy League in field goal percentage, was a perfect 10-of-10 from the field and added six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

"The whole team came to play today," Atkinson said. "I don't think a single one of my baskets came without an assist from one of my teammates."

Atkinson, who normally does most of his work around the basket, even stepped out and hit a baseline jump shot.

"He was exceptional," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "It was great to see him have the confidence to take that jump shot. As he starts to do that, it just changes everything."

Atkinson had plenty of support. Blake Reynolds added 19 points, one shy of his career high, and Miye Oni (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Jordan Bruner (10 points, 10 rebounds) both posted double-doubles. Alex Copeland contributed eight points and six assists, Azar Swain scored eight points, and Trey Phills had seven points and seven rebounds.

Yale outscored Iona 52-32 in the paint and got 45 points from the bench.

The Bulldogs, who have won six of their last seven games, sit at an impressive 7-3 as they head into a break for the holiday.

"I feel really good about where we are," Jones said.

Yale excelled in each of the principles Jones emphasizes. The Bulldogs limited Iona to 41.4 percent shooting from the field, outrebounded the Gaels 53-30 and had assists on 30 of 38 field goals.

"That's exactly who we are," said Jones.

Yale's lead was 15-7 after six minutes and grew to 15, 32-17, when Atkinson dunked off a nice feed from Copeland with 6:11 left in the first half.

Iona, which has been to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three years, never got closer than 13 the rest of the way, and the Bulldogs' led by as many as 23 in the second half.

E.J. Crawford, a Hartford, Conn., native, paced the Gaels with 23 points.

The Bulldogs are now off until Jan. 2 when they host Kennesaw State at 7 p.m. at Lee Amphitheater.

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