Yale 78, Auburn 76

Yale 78, Auburn 76


SPOKANE, Wash. - John Poulakidas scored 28 points, Samson Aletan made a key block during a wild scramble in the final seconds, and 13th-seeded Yale rallied in the final five minutes to take down No. 4 seed Auburn 78-76 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

For the second straight year, the Ivy League Tournament champion took down one of the pre-tournament favorites — busting plenty of March Madness brackets once again.

Last year it was Princeton toppling Arizona. This time, it was Yale's turn.

The Bulldogs (23-9) won an NCAA Tournament game for just the second time in school history, rallying from a 10-point deficit midway through the second half. After the final seconds ticked off, the players celebrated on the scorer's table in front of their fans.

Poulakidas hit big shot after big shot. His step-back 3-pointer with 2:10 left gave the Bulldogs a 73-72 lead. Yale never trailed again, despite a chaotic final stretch that included Auburn getting off two shots in the closing seconds following a missed free throw, one of which was rejected by Aletan.

Auburn’s K.D. Johnson had a contested look for a winning 3-pointer at the buzzer that was offline.

Johni Broome led Auburn with 24 points and 13 rebounds, but was crumpled on the court after the loss. It looked as if he might have injured his right knee in the final scrum.

Auburn rolled through the SEC Tournament last week and became a favored pick as a team that could take down No. 1 overall seed UConn should the pair end up clashing in the Sweet 16.

But the Tigers failed to get out the first round and joined fellow SEC schools South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi State amid the early departures from March Madness.

Yale athletics press release

March 22, 2024



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