Yale earns Ivy League title, NCAA tournament berth on buzzer-beater

NEW YORK — Matt Knowling hit a jumper at the buzzer and Yale closed the game on an 8-1 run to beat Brown 62-61 in the championship game of the Ivy League tournament Sunday, sending the Bulldogs to the NCAA tournament for the seventh time.

Kino Lilly Jr. sank two free throws to give the fourth-seeded Bears (13-18) a 60-54 lead with 27 seconds remaining. Bez Mbeng answered with a three-point play for No. 2 seed Yale (22-9) to make it a one-possession game. Nana Owusu-Anane hit the second of two free throws for Brown, but John Poulakidas buried a 3-pointer and the Bulldogs trailed 61-60 with 14 seconds left.

Poulakidas fouled Malachi Ndur, who missed two foul shots to set the stage for Knowling.

It was a tough finish for the Bears, who beat Yale 84-81 in the final game of the regular season. Brown won six in a row to end the season and grab the tourney’s fourth and final berth.

The Bears beat top-seeded Princeton 90-80 in the semifinals in search of their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1986. Their only other trip to the Big Dance came in 1939.

Yale, which knocked off No. 3 seed Cornell 69-57 to reach the final, last appeared in the NCAA tourney in 2022. The Bulldogs have won three of five championships since the Ivy began playing a four-team league tournament.

Knowling and August Mahoney scored seven points apiece to guide Yale to a 26-22 advantage at halftime. Lilly had seven at the break for Brown.

Yale stayed in front until back-to-back baskets by Ndur and Kalu Anya gave Brown a 46-44 lead with 8:22 left to play. The Bears never trailed from there until the final shot.

Poulakidas led the Bulldogs with 18 points, sinking 4 of 9 from 3-point range. Mahoney added 15 points and five rebounds. Knowling totaled 11 points, five rebounds and five assists. Danny Wolf had 13 rebounds to go with nine points.

Lilly made three 3-pointers and scored 21 to lead Brown. Anya had 12 points and seven rebounds. Ndur pitched in with 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks off the bench.


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