NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Alex Copeland scored a season-high 25 points and Yale beat archrival Harvard 97-85 on Sunday for the Ivy League title and its second NCAA Tournament trip in four seasons.
Yale (22-7), which lost to Harvard (18-11) twice in the regular season, used a 15-0 burst in the second half to take control on its home court. The Bulldogs celebrated with their fans who poured onto the floor when it was over.
The Bulldogs will return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since a memorable run that saw them beat Baylor in 2016. After that opening win, Yale then played Duke tough in a 71-64 loss.
Bryce Aiken scored 38 points for Harvard and Noah Kirkwood added 19.
Copeland was chosen the Ivy tournament’s most outstanding player. The senior guard, who had seven assists, scored eight points during Yale’s big run that turned a 59-58 deficit into a 73-59 lead.
Miye Oni, the Ivy League’s player of the year, added 17 points and Azar Swain had 15 for Yale.
Yale hit four of its first six shots and jumped out to an 8-2 lead on a spinning layup by Jordan Brunner. The Bulldogs stretched that to double-digits when Brunner found Blake Reynolds (14 points) underneath for a layup that made it 29-19.
But Aiken kept Harvard in the game. He hit six of his 10 shots in the first half and his three free throws gave the Crimson their first lead at 38-37.
Yale, which shot 61 percent over the first 20 minutes, led 43-42 at halftime.
Harvard came out strong after intermission and led 52-45 after a dunk by Kirkwood
Yale scored the next eight points, capped by a jumper from Oni.
The Bulldogs kept the Crimson at arms’ length after their big run and celebrated with fans who poured onto their home court after the win.
Yale: The Bulldogs and Crimson were both 10-4 during the regular season, but the Bulldogs were were playing as visitors on their home floor because of those two losses.
Harvard: Harvard came into the game 7-0 versus Ivy League Tournament teams this season, including 2-0 against Yale, the tiebreaker which earned the Crimson the top seed in the tournament. It also guarantees them a spot in the NIT.
Yale: The Bulldogs await their opponent and site in the NCAA tourney.
Harvard: The Crimson await an NIT bid.