The Ivy League again makes headlines as the 13th-seeded Yale defeats the 4th-seeded Auburn 78-76

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Yale vs Auburn

One year ago, John Poulakidas and August Mahoney of Yale were stuck at home watching their team’s magical NCAA Tournament run as champions of the Ivy League.

This time around, they were determined to experience it firsthand. And on Friday, they played pivotal roles as Yale continued the Ivy League’s tradition of causing upsets in March Madness.

Poulakidas scored an impressive 28 points, while Samson Aletan made a crucial block in the frantic final moments, helping 13th-seeded Yale come from behind in the last five minutes to defeat 4th-seeded Auburn 78-76 in the opening round.

This victory marks the second consecutive year that the Ivy League Tournament winner has knocked off a top contender in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, Princeton stunned Arizona.

Reflecting on their win, Mahoney expressed how the team had been eagerly waiting for their chance after last year’s defeat. With sheer belief in their abilities, they seized the opportunity when it came.

Yale’s triumph, only their second NCAA Tournament victory in school history, saw them overcome a 10-point deficit in the second half. As the final buzzer sounded, the players celebrated in front of their ecstatic fans, setting up a clash with San Diego State in the next round.

Yale vs Auburn (Credits: AP News)

Poulakidas, the standout performer of the game, delivered crucial shots, including a pivotal step-back 3-pointer that put Yale ahead for good. Despite a tense finish that saw Auburn attempt multiple shots in the dying seconds, Aletan’s block ensured victory for Yale.

While Auburn’s Johni Broome put in a stellar performance with 24 points and 13 rebounds, his efforts weren’t enough to save his team from defeat. Additionally, Auburn suffered a setback early on when Chad Baker-Mazara was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul, leaving them short-handed for most of the game.

Despite being considered a strong contender after their impressive run in the SEC Tournament, Auburn’s hopes of advancing were dashed as they fell short in the opening round. Missed opportunities, including crucial free throws down the stretch, proved costly for the Tigers.

Yale’s comeback began with unexpected contributions, including a three-pointer from Bez Mbeng, who hadn’t been a prolific shooter from beyond the arc. Poulakidas and Dustin Wolf stepped up with clutch plays, guiding Yale to a remarkable victory.

In the end, Yale coach James Jones hailed the win as one of the greatest in the program’s history, emphasizing the significance of defeating a formidable opponent like Auburn.


By Christopher Kamila

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