Phills Excels At Defensive End; Four Score In Double Figures
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Yale's Ivy League opener came down to the final possession. The way the league is shaping up, it likely won't be the last time. If the result is the same, that will be just fine with the Bulldogs. Alex Copeland scored 14 points, one of four players in double figures, as Yale won its Ivy opener for the sixth straight year, knocking off Brown 70-67 at the Pizzitola Center.
Brown's Desmond Cambridge missed an off-balance three-pointer from the baseline as time expired, setting off a celebration on the Yale bench.
The Bulldogs, who won their seventh straight game, shot 47.5 percent from the field and limited the Bears to 38.4 percent
Defensively, led largely by Trey Phills, Yale held Cambridge to just seven points, more than 10 below his team-leading average.
"Trey Phills did an amazing job," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "Miye [Oni] and Jalen Gabbidon who [also] guarded him, did a great job of staying in front of him and making him take tough shots. He is a tough shot maker, but it's hard to do that consistently. We just wanted to make sure that every shot he got was hard, and we did a great job of that."
Cambridge finished 3-of-19 from the field, including 1-of-9 from three-point range.
"We knew he was going to take a lot of shots, and we had to defend him as a team," said Phills, who also contributed eight points, four rebounds and a steal in 33 very solid minutes. "My goal was to just make it as hard as possible for him and try to wear him down over 40 minutes."
Yale improved to 11-3 overall and has won nine of its last 10 games. The only loss during the stretch came at Duke.
This one, though, certainly didn't come easily. There were six ties and eight lead changes.
The Bulldogs seemed to be in control when Jordan Bruner's layup gave them a 67-58 lead with 2:07 left, their largest of the game. Brown, though, fought back and pulled within one, 68-67, on Obi Okolie's three-pointer with 15 seconds left.
After a timeout, Miye Oni broke free on a long in-bounds pass and dunked.
The Bears then had two chances to tie. Zach Hunsaker missed a long trey from straightaway, but the rebound went out of bounds off of Yale with seven-tenths of a second left. Cambridge got off a well-guarded three as the buzzer sounded, but it banged off the back rim.
"We were gritty down the stretch," Phills said. "Obviously we didn't hold on to the lead the way we wanted, but when it mattered, we came up with some big stops and some big rebounds."
Blake Reynolds, Paul Atkinson and Oni all finished with 11 points for the Bulldogs. Bruner added nine points and 11 rebounds, and Azar Swain hit a pair of big three-pointers in the second half to finish with six points.
Tamenang Choh scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to pace Brown.
The loss snapped the Bears' six-game winning streak.
The same two teams meet again next Friday in Lee Amphitheater. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity