The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

‘That’s the best basketball team we’ve beaten in Yale basketball history’

IVY team upsets brackets for second year straight
The Yale team is all smiles after completing the upset over Auburn, March 22, in Spokane, Wash.

“I don’t know if that’s the best win in Yale basketball history, but I will tell you that’s the best basketball team we’ve beaten in Yale basketball history, as far as I’m concerned,” head coach James Jones said. 

Yale guard Yassine Gharram jumps on the scorer’s table to celebrate with fans after upsetting Auburn 78-76, March 22, 2024, in Spokane, Wash.

Going down as many as 10 points, Yale basketball never said die. Clawing and fighting their way back to complete their upset over Auburn with a 78-76 victory behind a team effort led by John Poulakidas with 28 points on 66% shooting from both the field and three-point shooting.

Yale guard John Poulakidas shoots a fade-away jumper during a first-round match against Auburn, March 22, 2024, in Spokane, Wash.

“After I hit my first couple of shots, obviously, the floodgates opened,” Poulakidas said. 

Things got interesting shortly after the opening tip, as just three minutes in, the referees reviewed a foul. After some deliberation, they gave Auburn’s Chad Baker-Mazara a flagrant 2-foul, meaning he would be objected for the rest of the game. 

“Chad is one of our best players, he’s one of our very best playmakers, and was a huge part of our game plan, so to lose him in that situation was really, really disruptive to our team on both ends of the floor,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. 

A nine-game starter during the regular season, Baker-Mazara averaged 10.0 points per game, third highest on the team. The miniscule three minutes he played against Yale is by far the least he’s played all season, snapping a streak nine games of playing as least 20.

Due in part to having one of their starters playing three minutes, the bench became a higher priority for success. For that reason, they got 22 bench points, but bench players shot 9-of-20 from the field and just 2-of-7 from three.

The Bulldogs did not let that advantage slip, staying tough despite being down 68-58 with 7:27 left on the clock. To cut the lead, they made a three-pointer, free throw, and jumper over nearly three minutes of game time.

After giving up a layup to cut off their little run, they scored the next six runs to tie it at 70 with 2:38 remaining. 

While the offense had to score to reduce the deficit, Yale’s defense repeatedly stifled the Auburn attack. In the last 7:26 of the game, the Tigers just scored eight points, with two of those points coming with under 10 seconds remaining. 

Yale looked like a classic go down, tie it up, go down, tie it up and eventually lose. But, beating the script, they beat the SEC opponent despite a majority believing they had no shot. 

“We know how good we are, so we believed — every single person in that locker room believed we were going to get it done,” Yale guard August Mahoney said.

Mahoney scored 14 points, being the clutch free-throw shooter for the Bulldogs. He shot 9-of-11 from the line, including sinking two with around 30 seconds remaining. As a team, Yale shot just 68% from the line, but they always could rely on Mahoney to sink the shot when needed. 

“It’s a dream come true when you come to a school like Yale and not only make it, but to win that game [in the Tournament],” Mahoney said.

Mahoney had one of the best two-way performances of any player on the court. While his teammates had even, or even negative plus/minuses, the guard finished at +11, the highest of all players. 

Auburn out-shot the Bulldogs despite the loss, shooting 51% to Yale’s 46%. Tigers starter Aden Halloway played just three minutes in the second half, as in 10 minutes in the first half, he shot 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-3 from three, failing to even dish out an assist. 

Yale benefited from an unlikely benefactor. Not able to have their own band travel, they got University of Idaho’s band to wear Yale shirts and support the team. That additional noise, as well as fans in the stands, created an environment that rooted for the underdog.   

“Having that atmosphere and the people coming out and supporting us, there’s nothing better than that,” Jones said.

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About the Contributors
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.