Lions Off To 2-0 Ivy League Start
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The first full weekend of Ivy League play brings Columbia and Cornell to the John J. Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs host the Lions on Friday night and the Big Red on Saturday. Tip off on both nights is slated for 7 p.m.
Friday is Coaches vs. Cancer night. Both coaching staffs will wear sneakers to support the Coaches vs. Cancer® program as part of the 11th annual Suits & Sneakers weekend. In addition, any fan that wears a suit and sneakers will receive free admission. There also will be a number of raffles with all proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society.
The Bulldogs (7-9, 1-1 Ivy) opened Ivy League play by splitting two games with travel partner Brown. Yale got to the free throw line a total of 75 times in the two games.
Justin Sears (15.2 ppg., 6.3 rpg.) is fourth in the Ivy League in scoring and fifth in rebounding. He has scored 20 or more points in a game four times and has reached double figures 13 times. Javier Duren also is in the league's top-10 in several categories. He is eighth in scoring (13.5 ppg.), sixth in assists (2.9 per game), seventh in free throw percentage (.763), third in steals (27) and 10th in assist/turnover ratio (1.0).
The Bulldogs are back on the road next weekend when they travel to Dartmouth on Friday and Harvard on Saturday.
3 KEYS FOR YALE
Share The Ball – Yale managed only six assists last Saturday at Brown. Naturally, the more the ball moves, the more efficient the offense is. The Bulldogs are 6-3 in games this year when they have at least 12 assists.
Watch The Fouls – Columbia leads the Ivy League and is seventh in the nation in free throw percentage at .763 so the Bulldogs will need to limit the Lions' opportunities. Cornell, on the other hand, shoots just 62.1 percent from the line, which may allow the Yale defense to be a little more aggressive.
Defend The Three-Point Line – Columbia is the top three-point shooting team in the league at 40.1 percent. Cornell is not nearly as accurate (.320), but the Big Red has attempted the third most threes in the league.
• Justin Sears averaged 18.5 points in the two games against Brown. He had 20 points and was the Ivy League Co-Player of the Week following the win over the Bears.
• Armani Cotton also scored in double figures in both games with Brown. He was particularly effective from three-point range where he shot 50 percent (4-of-8).
Yale has swept the Columbia-Cornell home weekend in two of the last three years.
The Bulldogs have won five straight over Columbia in Lee Amphitheater. Last year, Yale shot 62 percent from the field en route to a 75-56 win over the Lions. Columbia, though, rebounded to win the rematch 59-46. Columbia leads the all-time series 123-101.
Yale and Cornell split the season series last year with the visiting team winning each game. The Big Red built an early lead and held on for a 68-61 win at Lee Amphitheater, while Yale got 19 points from Matt Townsend en route to a 79-70 win in Ithaca. Cornell leads the overall series 110-103.
The Lions (13-6, 2-0 Ivy) have won six straight games and are 2-0 in league play for just the second time since 2000. The last time Columbia won three straight to start the 14-game tournament was in 1994-95 when they began 4-0 with Jack Rohan patrolling the sidelines. Columbia is averaging 79.0 points per game, fueled by 9.2 three-pointers per outing, during the winning streak. Maodo Lo (14.1 ppg.) and Alex Rosenberg (14.1 ppg.) share the team lead in scoring and are the top two three-point shooters in the league.
The Big Red (1-15, 0-2 Ivy) plays at Brown on Friday night. Cornell has three players averaging double figures in scoring – Nolan Cressler (15.5 ppg.), Devin Cherry (11.0 ppg.) and Robert Hatter (10.1 ppg.). Two of Cornell's losses have come to 2013 NCAA Final Four squads (Syracuse, Louisville) and six total are at the hands of 2013 postseason squads (Syracuse, Louisville and Notre Dame - NCAA, Stony Brook - NIT, Loyola - CIT, Western Michigan - CBI) that went a combined 161-58 a year ago.