It was a surprise to many - less than 20 percent of ESPN brackets had the Bulldogs winning - but not to Yale's players.
Makai Mason had a career-high 31 points, including six of Yale's final nine points, and the No. 12 seed Bulldogs held on to upset No. 5 seed Baylor 79-75 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday in Providence, Rhode Island.
No. 12 seeds are back. Arkansas-Little Rock stunned Purdue in the evening, with an out-of-nowhere comeback that led to a double-overtime win. It would be unfair to cast Drew as a poor postseason coach, as he's 8-6 with two appearances in the Elite Eight.
Without Amile Jefferson to help work inside, the Blue Devils rank just 167th on the boards, picking up only 36 per game and their inability to stretch a possession among them.
If Yale proved one thing early in its first NCAA Tournament game since 1962 Thursday afternoon, it's that it wouldn't beat itself.
"It's obviously great, right?"
"You could see that Baylor, they didn't take us seriously from the start of the game, and we started hitting shots, they realized we're for real".
Kellen Dunham scored 23 points to lead the Bulldogs (22-10), including a critical three of his own with 2:26 left as the Midwest Regional's No. 9 seed finally pulled away in the final minutes.
- Duke is not only getting ready for a second round NCAA Tournament game against Yale Friday, head coach Mike Krzyzewski is celebrating an anniversary of sorts.
Davis had 18 points and seven rebounds, while Niya Johnson had 16 assists and five rebounds for the Lady Bears (34-1), who have won 21 in a row. He would finish with 31 points.
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"The guys in this locker room have known", Yale guard Nick Victor said.
And they did. They played with joy and confidence before a raucous crowd at the Dunkin' Donuts Center, skipping across the court following one clutch play after another while favored Baylor - the much bigger team, wearing gaudy fluorescent yellow uniforms - wobbled under the weight of the moment.
Mason was the catalyst, connecting on nine of his 18 field goal attempts, and going a ideal 11 for 11 from the free throw line. In a last ditch effort, our coach leaned towards me in a timeout and said "You're gonna cover that kid again".
"I just kind of felt in the zone and was able to hit some shots", said Mason, who hails from Greenfield, Mass., and grew up rooting for UMass. Then it will be Yale facing Duke, 2:40 p.m. on CBS, with Yale looking for its second straight upset of the tournament after taking down Baylor. There was the backstory of heartbreak, as Yale missed the Big Dance a year ago after last-second losses to Dartmouth and Harvard.
Under the brightest lights of the NCAA tournament, Baylor wilted for the second consecutive year. Johnathan Motley finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
PROVIDENCE, R.I.-For a while, Duke and Yale have been worlds apart in the realm of athletics, even as the two schools vied for spots in the U.S. News and World Report's top 10 universities. Meanwhile, Yale got 11 points from guard Jack Montague, the team's captain, was expelled from the school in February.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 13 points in the second half before having its lead cut to 1 point.
Jones scored 13 points to lead Baylor in the third quarter and the Lady Bears took a 69-46 lead into the final period.
Baylor's star was Prince, who scored 25 points on 11-23 shooting including 3-6 from deep. The Blue Devils' big man was relegated to just four points in a first half dominated by the Seahawks. But steely free throws by freshman Brandon Ingram and Allen secured the defending champions a place in the tournament's second weekend.
Little Rock will face Iowa State on Saturday in the second round.