Record breaking number of Yale’s longest basketball home winning streak started and ended with Harvard

Photo: YaleBulldogs.com

It was widely reported in the past several days that when Harvard defeated Yale last Saturday (Feb. 11, 2017) it ended the Bulldogs’ home court winning streak at 22 games. But few, if any, including the media, knew that the record breaker was also against the Crimson, the year previous. That’s probably because nobody seemed to knew exactly what the earlier record was.

After going through year by year and game by game results, I found that the previous high was 12 home contests. That meant that a win over Harvard late in the 2016-16 season would be its 13th and set a new record. Well, the Bulldogs, who never lost in the John J. Lee Amphitheater during the 2015-16 season, did defeat the Crimson, 59-50.

It should give some measure of consolation to current Yale fans to know that, although Harvard stopped the streak this year, it also was the opponent allowing the Bulldogs to set its new record by going over the earlier high number.

Yale has been unbeatable at home over the past few seasons. (Photo: Yale Athletics/David Silverman)
Yale has been unbeatable at home over the past few seasons. (Photo: Yale Athletics/David Silverman)

The irony is that when it happened, Feb. 26, 2016, few, if any, seemed to be aware of its impact. In fact, until this article is posted, it will still probably come as a surprise to 99 percent of our readers, including those in the Yale basketball family.

Other Yale streaks

Following the end of the 22 game home court streak last week, I took the clue to research if any other double digit undefeated stretches took place during Yale’s very lengthy court history, which started in 1895. Although it had been assumed that 22 was a new high, nobody seemed to know exactly when a new mark was reached.

What we found

In its 122 years of playing basketball, Yale has managed to have four double digit consecutive home victories. The previous high was 12, consisting of nine games in the 1948-49 season and continuing with three in 1949-50.

Therefore, it could have been said that once the recent streak exceeded 12, the Bulldogs were breaking their own mark for every win from number 13 through 22.

10 games: Coach unknown
1901-02 won 4 (C, D. Lockwood, captain)
1902-03 won 4 (R. B. Hyatt, captain)
1903-04 won 2 (H. W. Church, captain)

11 games: Coach, Howard Hobson
1950-51 won 8 (Edward McHugh, captain)
1951-52 won 3 (Edward McHugh, captain)

12 games: Coach, Howard Hobson
1948-49 won 9 (Tony Lavelli, captain)
1949-50 won 3 (Dick Joyce, captain)

22 games: Coach, James Jones
The 22-game streak started after a 56-50 loss to Columbia on Feb. 21, 2015, and ended almost two years later with Harvard’s 75-67 victory on Feb. 11, 2017. More detail follows.

2014-15 won 2 (Greg Kelley, captain)
Defeated Princeton and Penn

2015-16 won 12 (Jack Montague, captain)
Defeated Sacred Heart, Bryant, Vermont, NJIT, Daniel Webster, Brown, Penn, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard (set new record of 13) and Dartmouth

2016-17 won 8 (Anthony Dallier, captain)
Defeated Lehigh, Albany, Delaware, Central Connecticut, Hartford, Mitchell, Brown and Dartmouth

Some are still going

Although Yale is now out of the picture, other long home winning streaks are still active at Oregon (37), Akron (30), New Mexico State (23) and Cincinnati (23).

With the development of internet research tools,, all kinds of statistical and pseudo-records in sports, are being uncovered every time something unusual happens, They are certainly of interest to some of the fans, who find they are fun to follow or at least take note of.

Although the public may not be into such things as consecutive home court wins, they are valuable tools for the sports information departments at the various colleges as a means of getting recognition and publicity for their teams. Yale certainly got plenty of mentions during its run.

It was great for the Yale hoop program to be among the five or six of the current leaders in this category. Now the Bulldogs can give their full attention to the tight Ivy League race and its first tournament next month. That’s when real titles and records will become important.

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