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Dallier, Downey Come Up Big As Yale Qualifies For Inaugural Ivy League Tourney

Yale drilled Cornell 90-63 Friday night at Lee Amphitheater to earn a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Conference Tournament next weekend at the Palestra in Philadelphia.

The Bulldogs, last year's Ivy League champion who earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, the program's first appearance in 54 years, will have to earn the right to go back as the league's No. 3 seed.

The history books will show that Yale's 6-foot-6 senior point guard and captain Anthony Dallier lit Payne Whitney gym up on Senior Weekend to help his team get there.

"It's a night-to-night thing where I kind of pick my spots, seeing what is needed on offense," Dallier said. "I think some of the games we lost, I hadn't done my part in the scoring department. I'd say the last few games, I've been trying to be a little bit more aggressive."

Yale (16-10, 8-5 Ivy League) will play Harvard (18-8, 10-3) next Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Palestra. Harvard swept Yale this season.

Princeton (20-6, 13-0) is the top seed. The No. 4 seed will be determined Saturday with some wild scenarios that include Dartmouth, Penn and Columbia.

Dallier was 7 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 6 from three-point range for his team-high 18 points. He also grabbed five rebounds and doled out four assists. Fellow senior Sam Downey (11 points, nine rebounds) manned the middle on both ends.

It's only fitting that the seniors, the winningest class at Yale in modern history with 80 wins, stepped up big in this one.

They'll be honored before tonight's game against Columbia. Take away Dallier's and Downey's efforts, however, and Yale could have very well been fighting on the last day for the right to go to the tournament, a concept Yale coach James Jones really pushed for when he arrived at Yale 18 years ago.

No worries. That pressure is off now thanks in large part to the two players who will take the floor at Yale for the last time Saturday.

"There are a lot of guys on this team that can do things, but certainly Anthony and Sam are guys that we have thought a great deal about over the last four years and this is their last hurrah," Jones said. "Thinking about who they are, I feel good about them playing well in their final home games. Sam has been the most consistent player we've had all year on the glass and scoring. You can almost pencil him for 10 and 7 or 12 and seven every night."

The Big Red certainly started off with a spoiler's mentality led by sophomore guard Matt Morgan, the Ivy League's leading scorer. As a team, Cornell (7-21, 3-10) couldn't sustain the chaos they caused the Bulldogs early, but Morgan could. He dropped 28 points, including 5 of 11 from three.

The Big Red, who trailed 40-27 at halftime, pulled to within single digits, 42-33, with 18 minutes, 53 seconds to play on a jumper by Morgan.

That's as close as Cornell would get. A little over 10 minutes later, Yale was up by 31, 77-46, on an Alex Copeland layup. Copeland had 10 points in the game.

The Bulldogs led 40-27 at halftime following Dallier's tip-in with about 2.8 seconds left in one of his better halves. He had nine points at the break for a Yale team that has shot the ball better in its last two games. The Bulldogs, 57.1 percent from the floor, shot 45 percent from three.

"We're moving it a lot better," Jones said. "When the ball moves and everybody gets a touch and we move it from side to side and get some penetration, good things happen for us. We've gotten back to playing like we did earlier in the year." 

 

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