It was a longer than expected weekend trip to face Columbia and Cornell for Coach James Jones and the Yale (5-1; 13-6) basketball players. But the end result was just what the Bulldogs wanted, as they swept the New York teams and gained undisputed possession of second place in the Ivy League, behind Princeton (5-0).
After winning at Columbia on Friday, the defending league champions boarded their bus and headed far into the night for Ithaca, NY. They were scheduled for an early 6 PM start at Cornell.
However, the tip off was delayed until 7:50 PM due to a power failure that struck Newman Arena, the Cornell campus and much of the city of Ithaca. When the contest finally started, and Anthony Dallier put Yale on top, 2-0, the power went out again, with less than two minutes having elapsed.
They waited about 15 minutes, and when the juice did not come back, the decision was made to resume the game on Sunday at 12-noon before what would be an intimate gathering.
So Yale rechecked into the same hotel it had left earlier in the day, and spent another night far above of Cayuga’s waters. The game was picked up with the same score, the same time off the clock, and even the same game uniforms, Yale in white and Cornell wearing red, in accordance with Ivy rules for the second of back-to-back games. Hopefully, they were laundered in the interim, assuming the washing machines were operating.
All the delays and inconveniences worked out well for the Bulldogs, who went on to win, 78-71, although it wasn’t easy. It was tied 13 times and the lead switched on 18 occasions.
Yale used only two players off the bench. It was led by its freshman flashes, Miye Oni and Jordan Bruner. Oni had 19 points and eight rebounds, while Brunner added 15 tallies and eight boards.
On Friday Oni hit Columbia for 22 points. His 41 in the two games makes him a virtual lock for being named an Ivy League “Rookie of the Week” for the fifth time, with three more weeks to go.
Even going into the resumption of play on Sunday, Yale had taken over the second rung in the standings, when Princeton handed Harvard its second league loss, 57-56. The Crimson dropped to third at 4-2.
Coach Jones felt that “Cornell played terrific. They were intense and aggressive. We had to really come together to pull it out.”
Stone Gettings of Cornell topped both teams with 28 points. The Big Red enjoyed a seven point lead, 31-24, late in the first half, which was tied 36-36 at the intermission.
From the time the score was tied 51-51, Yale went on a 9-2 run and never looked back.
Cornell (2-4, 6-15), however, did provide some anxious moments by climbing to within one, 70-69, on a three-point play by Matt Morgan. Yale’s Alex Copeland made a driving layup and Dallier’s jumper from the baseline brought Yale’s lead back to five.
“That’s what a leader does,” said Jones.
Oni was 5 for 7 from the field and 7 out of 8 from the foul line.”We have a lot of energy at the end of games,” he said. “It starts with defense.”
The Bulldogs have a four game winning streak with 11 victories in their last 13 games. They also are undefeated in 21 straight home games over three seasons, now the fourth longest in the country.
They will now reap the benefits of a top heavy road schedule with six home games in their last eight. The next four come at home, starting Friday against Dartmouth, followed by Harvard.
IVY LEAGUE STANDINGS
Princeton 5-0 12-6
Yale 5-1 13-6
Harvard 4-2 12-7
Columbia 4-2 10-9
Cornell 2-4 6-15
Brown 2-4 11-11
Dartmouth 1-5 4-15
Penn 0-5 7-11