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Yale Topples Penn 78-65 To Complete Weekend Sweep

Alex Copeland (Don Clark photo)
Alex Copeland (Don Clark photo)

Bulldogs All Alone Atop Ivy League Standings

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale played perhaps its best five minutes of the season Saturday against Penn. And the result has the Bulldogs all alone atop the Ivy League standings. Yale scored on six straight possessions down the stretch, breaking open a close game en route to a 78-65 victory over the Quakers before a big crowd at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Miye Oni led four players in double figures with 21 points. Alex Copeland added 15 points, Blake Reynolds scored 13 and Jordan Bruner had 12.

The win, coupled with losses by Princeton and Harvard, moved Yale into sole possession of first place in the Ivy League at 5-1.

The Bulldogs have won 11 of their last 12 games and sit at 15-4 overall.

This win didn't come easily. Yale had the lead for more than 30 minutes but couldn't shake the pesky Quakers until the final minutes.

The Bulldogs had a 10-point advantage with 8:24 left, but Penn responded with a 10-3 run to close to within three.

That's when Yale's upperclassmen took over. Senior Trey Phills started it with a three-point play. Senior Blake Reynolds added a three-pointer. Then Oni, a junior, hit a trey and followed with a spectacular dunk in the lane.

"It was a part of a play we ran," Oni said of the slam that brought the Lee Amphitheater crowd to its feet. "We got two good screens. I saw the opening, and I knew I had to finish high."

On Yale's next possession, Paul Atkinson dunked off a nice feed from Reynolds, and Reynolds then sealed the victory with a three-pointer that made it 78-64 with 1:33 left.

The game with Penn has been on the minds of the Bulldogs since the start of the season. The Quakers beat Yale 80-57 in the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament last March.

"We had a bad taste in our mouth from the last time we played these guys," said Copeland, who was 6-of-11 from the field and added five assists. "Everybody wanted to come out and play hard. In the last five minutes, you could see a lot of that anger that has been built up for almost a year."

The Bulldogs shot 49 percent from the field and outscored Penn 33-4 on fast break points.

"It starts with getting stops on defense, and we have the athletes to out run most teams we play," Oni said of the transition success.

Defensively, Yale held the Quakers to 35.1 percent from the field.

The 21-point performance capped a memorable weekend for Oni, who scored a career-high 35 points in Yale's win over Princeton on Friday. He added eight rebounds and five assists against the Quakers.

The Bulldogs have now swept the Princeton-Penn home weekend eight times in the last nine years.

Yale also improved to 8-0 in Lee Amphitheater and has won 13 straight home games dating back to last season.

The Bulldogs are back on the road next weekend, traveling to Columbia on Friday and Cornell on Saturday.

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