Yale stands alone on top of Ivy hoop standings, but for how long?

Javier Duren and the Bulldogs sit in first place in the Ivy--for now. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

By Joel Alderman

Two games do not a season make, especially in the Ivy League basketball race. But for Yale idealists, there will be at least a few days to enjoy a rarity. The Bulldogs, 2-0, sit all alone in first place, even ahead of favored Harvard (1-1).

All this came about following Yale’s victory over Brown and a surprising loss by Harvard to Dartmouth, even though the Crimson was playing on its home court. Both games took place on Saturday.

Yale was tied with 0:18 to go  

The Bulldogs trailed in New Haven by six at the half. After going ahead by the same margin, the Bears took the lead, 59-58, with 2:37 remaining.  The score was tied 65-65 on a Brown hoop with 0:18 showing.

Then Yale’s Javier Duren hit on a fade away jump shot as 3.6 seconds were left. A Brown miss and a couple of free throws by Justin Sears wrapped up a difficult win against the same opponent Yale had no trouble with the week before in Providence.

“This team is very versatile,” Yale coach James Jones said. “We can win in a number of different ways.”

One of those ways is for its two high scorers to be productive in the same game. Sears had 27 and Duran 24.

The game in Cambridge

Harvard turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 18 times in blowing a 14-point in its 70-61 loss to Dartmouth. The Big Green put together an amazing 26-2 second-half run, and went on to a victory that not too many had predicted.

The Yale win and Harvard loss left the Crimson in third place for the first time since 2010. Princeton (1-0) is in second. Yale and Princeton, after just two games for each of the eight teams, are the only undefeated ones left in the Ivy.

Harvard coach, Tommy Amaker, said of Dartmouth, “They played tougher, were better coached … and I think they deserved the victory.”

Now what?

Yale is away next week and returns home February 6-7. Its opponents then will be none other than Dartmouth and Harvard. There could be a lot of changes after that weekend. For it has been said many times that the only thing predictable about Ivy League basketball is that it is unpredictable.

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