Five Bulldogs Score In Double Figures
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Yale's trip to Southern California produced a thriller. Jordan Bruner and Blake Reynolds scored 18 points apiece to lead five players in double figures as the Bulldogs earned a hard-fought 94-90 overtime victory over Cal State Northridge before a crowd of 1,138 at the Matadome that included a number of Yale supporters.
The Bulldogs had to overcome a desperation, turnaround three-pointer from Lamine Diane that tied the score at 76 as time expired in regulation.
Yale, though, responded by scoring the first seven points of the extra period. The run included dunks from Bruner and Miye Oni.
The Matadors closed to within two, 92-90, with 15 seconds remaining, but Alex Copeland made two, clutch free throws with 14 seconds left to seal the victory.
"Once we had the lead in overtime, we were really composed," said Oni, a Northridge native who was playing in front of a number of family and friends. "We played with a lot of energy and fire in the second half. We knew that was what we needed to win."
The Bulldogs (9-3) have won five straight games and eight of their last nine.
The 9-3 start is the best for Yale since the 2014-15 team also won nine of its first 12.
Oni (16 points), Copeland (14) and Paul Atkinson (12 off the bench) were the other double figure scorers.
The game was back-and-forth throughout and featured 10 ties and 28 lead changes.
Yale trailed 39-34 at halftime but opened the second half with a 19-6 run, capped by an Atkinson dunk off a feed from Oni. CSUN answered with a spurt of its own and took a 60-57 lead on a Rodney Henderson three-pointer.
The Matadors had a four-point lead, 71-67, with 2 minutes left before the Bulldogs rallied.
Two Bruner free throws with two seconds left capped a 9-2 Yale run and looked like it would secure a victory. Instead, Diane's heroics forced Yale to work five extra minutes. The Bulldogs, though, kept their composure in overtime which should serve them well when Ivy League play starts in two weeks.
"The toughness of our guys was good," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "We were really good when it mattered the most - at the start of the second half when we were down by five, and the start of overtime."
Oni's 16 points leave him three shy of 1,000 for his career. He added seven assists and three rebounds in 28 minutes.
Bruner had a career-high 15 rebounds to go along with his 18 points. It was his second double-double in the last three games. He also contributed five assists.
Reynolds scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and overtime.
Diane was nearly unstoppable for the Matadors. He finished with 35 points on 13-of-30 shooting from the field and grabbed 15 rebounds in 43 minutes.
The Bulldogs play their final game before the start of Ivy play on Tuesday, hosting Skidmore at 7 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Report filed by Tim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity