By Kevin Sweeney
After losing star guard Makai Mason to a season-ending foot injury prior to the season, one of the big questions for Yale was which player would step up and be “the guy” when they needed a bucket.
Tonight, freshman sensation Miye Oni proved why he can be “the guy” for the Bulldogs, scoring all 18 of his points in the second half to lead Yale to a 68-60 win over Penn at the Palestra in Philadelphia, PA. It’s the 7th win in the last 8 games for the Bulldogs.
The Quakers were able to impose their grind-it-out style on the game, slowing the pace down to a halt at times. However, with freshman A.J. Brodeur on the bench with two first half fouls, they couldn’t get anything going offensively. The defense kept Penn in the game in the first half, going on an 11-2 run late in the half to trail by just 2 at the break.
While Oni, who came off the bench for the first time all season, was silenced in the first half, he took over the game in the second. For much of the half, it appeared that Oni had a chance to match the 2nd half scoring output of the entire Penn team. As the second half wore on, the Bulldogs extended a double-digit lead, and the result was never in doubt down the stretch. A four-point play by Oni with just under 4 minutes to go gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of 16.
Words were exchanged postgame when Penn’s Jackson Donahue stole the ball in the closing seconds and scored to cut the final score to 68-60. Yale head coach James Jones didn’t seem bothered, but senior guard Anthony Dallier exchanged some words with Donahue and the rest of the Penn team.
Oni’s game-high 18 points led Yale, while Alex Copeland, Blake Reynolds, and Dallier all posted double-figures in scoring. The Bulldogs conclude their first Ivy League weekend of the year with a trip to preseason favorites Princeton tomorrow night.
Brodeur and Donahue each had 13 points for the Quakers, who fall to 0-2 in Ivy League play this season. They take on Brown tomorrow at home.