By Joel Alderman
Yale’s new look hoop team provided perhaps the biggest upset of the opening weekend of the college basketball season, despite having to travel 3,000 miles across the country to pick up a 98-90 win over the Pac-12 University of Washington Huskies on Sunday.
“ I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” said Coach James Jones. “I feel as good about this win as I did the Baylor win (in last March’s NCAA tournament).”
Miye Oni scored 24 points with 9-of-14 from the floor, including 4 out of 6 three-pointers. He also had six rebounds and three assists. Not bad for anyone, and a truly spectacular performance for a freshman. The veteran Sam Downey was close behind with 22 on 10-of-15 shooting from the field. After the home team scored the first two points of the game, the Bulldogs never trailed, and once led by 20 in the first half, which ended 49-35.
Five Bulldogs in double figures
Including Oni and Downey, Yale had five players in double figures. The others were Blake Reynolds (19), Alex Copeland (14) and Captain Anthony Dallier (12). The latter was credited with six assists.
Yale withstood Washington rally
Washington came back to make a run and cut the Yale lead with 5:22 left to 77-73 on a jumper by Markelle Fultz, one of the highest rated freshmen in the country. He finished with 30, of which 24 were in the second half.
Instead of panicking, Yale regained its composure and upped the lead to 88-77 with 1:24 remaining on Oni’s 3-pointer from the left corner.
After that the teams traded Washington baskets for Yale foul shots.
The Ivy Leaguers, never known for being a high scoring team, had an uncharacteristic 49 points in each half.
Huskies had no answer
They played Coach Jones’ “share the ball” style to perfection, prompting the hometown Seattle Times to write that “the Huskies had no answer for Yale’s meticulous offense that picked apart UW’s pressure defense.”
Last season Yale was second in rebounding in the nation and the Bulldogs got off to a good start on the West Coast in that department as well, enjoying a 21-4 edge off the offensive boards. All told, Yale out rebounded Washington, 42-29, and had 20 assists on its 33 field goals.
On the negative side, highly touted freshman Jordan Bruner and Seattle native, AJ Edwards, were unable to play due to undisclosed injuries.
Things won’t get any easier for Yale. After a home game on Thursday against Lehigh, they will visit “Tobacco Road” to meet nationally ranked Virginia next Sunday. One thing is certain. The Cavaliers won’t be taking the Bulldogs lightly.