Yale, playing mainly for pride, overcame a double-digit deficit and defeated Columbia,75-71, in its final game of the Ivy League schedule. By virtue of a victory over Cornell 24 hours earlier, the Bulldogs (9-5) will be heading to the initial Ivy League tournament next Saturday to face Harvard (10-4) in one of the semi-finals.
Although the Bulldogs had already clinched a tournament berth, the game at the John J. Lee Amphitheater in Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium still had post-season ramifications, as the loss kept Columbia from joining the tournament field.
Instead, the #4 seed will be Pennsylvania, an upset winner tonight over Harvard, 75-72, on the same Palestra floor where the four-team tournament will take place next weekend.
Matchups set for the Ivy League Tournament
The first game in the event, that will determine the league’s automatic entry into the NCAA’s “Big Dance,” will pair the Quakers with Princeton, which completed a perfect 14-0 conference record, by pounding Dartmouth. Columbia would have qualified as the #4 seed if it had defeated Yale, under the league’s tie-breaker procedure.
Instead, Columbia is out and the Quakers are in and will have a home-court advantage in the first semi-final next Saturday, against the Princeton Tigers.
Yale’s strong second half
Yale asserted itself late in the game after tying the score 37-37 seconds following the halftime break. Although it was senior night at Yale, ia trio of sophomores paced the Bulldogs. Blake Reynolds led all scorers with 16 points, including 12 on 3-point baskets.
Two other sophomores, Alex Copeland (13), and Trey Phills (11) were also in double figures for Yale.
Down to the wire
Luke Petrasek of the Lions made one of two free throws with 2:05 left to tie the game to tie it at 71-71. With 1:18 remaining, Copeland’s layup put the Bulldogs in front 73-71. Columbia’s Nat Hickman’s layup was blocked by Anthony Dallier with six seconds left, and freshman Miye Oni added two free throws to ice the game for Yale.
Lukas Meisner paced Columbia with 14 points and nine rebounds, Mike Smith had 13 and Petrasek 10.
A crowd of 1,787, a good turnout considering that Yale is on spring break, sent the Bulldogs on the “Path to the Palestra.”
FINAL IVY LEAGUE STANDINGS
Yale 75 Columbia 71
Princeton 85 Dartmouth 48
Penn 75 Harvard 72
Cornell 92 Brown 78