Yale’s momentum stopped as Harvard pulls out a 75-67 victory in sold out Lee Amphitheater

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By Joel Alderman

Harvard fought back from a five point halftime deficit, and overcame a raucous Yale crowd of 2,532 that sold out the John J. Lee Amphitheater at the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, to defeat the Bulldogs 75-67 Saturday night. The Crimson thereby tied Yale for second place in the tight Ivy League race, each with 6-2 records, and they also share the same overall marks of 14-6.

Meanwhile, Princeton (8-0) fought off a desperate Columbia rally for a surprisingly close 61-59 home court win over the Lions, to maintain its first place lead of two games over Harvard and now Yale.

The top three contenders (Princeton, Harvard and Yale) all have six games remaining, not including participation in the first Ivy League four-team tournament. The post season event at the Palestra in Philadelphia will determine the league’s representative in the NCAA tournament, and there is a strong possibility Yale and Harvard will face each other for the third time in the first round. The Bulldogs and Crimson are already scheduled to oppose each other at Harvard in two weeks.

Streaks stopped

The loss ended Yale’s streak of 22 consecutive wins at home in a period covering three seasons, and was its first setback after winning the last six. The Bulldogs had defeated Harvard in three of their previous four games, including a sweep of last year’s pair.

Harvard’s freshmen laden team had a definite un-Ivy League look, sporting player names on the back of its jerseys. The other seven teams in the ancient eight continue the tradition of “no names, please.”

Harvard was bolstered by one of its first year players, Bryce Aiken, who had a career high 27 points, including five of ten from three-point range. Although Aiken did not start the game, he went on to play 29 of the minutes.

Siyani Chambers, a past Yale nemesis before taking last year off from school because of an ACL injury during the summer, racked up 16 points. Corey Johnson, another Harvard freshman, who registered 24 points the night before at Brown, had 12 against Yale. Johnson is a Canadian from Ottawa, Ontario.

Harvard hurt Yale with twelve 3-pointers

Although Yale held the Crimson to 41.4% shooting, 12 of its hoops were three pointers, including two that barely beat the shot clock in the first half. Yale, which was 46.3 percent overall, was successful on only three of its 16 attempts from behind the arc.

Yale was led by sophomore Alex Copeland, who again came off the bench and then played 25 minutes. He scored 20. Strangely, the games’ two high scorers were not in their team’s starting lineups.

Yale had leads, including by five at the half

It was a see-saw first half that ended with Yale ahead, 36-31, after leading by eight with 2:23 showing before the break. Harvard took command with 9:03 left in the second half on Aiken’s three pointer, and never trailed afterwards. During the game the score was tied eight times and there were 12 lead changes.
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Would you believe it?

Almost 60 years ago to the day (March 2, 1957) Harvard also played Yale on the same court. That time Yale was the winner. The score was 75-67, the same tally by which the Crimson won by tonight. After 60 years, Harvard got even.

No relief in sight

Yale will attempt to avoid going from the frying pan into the fire. It returns to action next Friday, when undefeated Princeton comes to New Haven.

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