Yale completed its four game pre-season tour of Australia with a resounding 95-69 win against Manly-Warringah at The Scots College in Sydney to finish with a 3-1 record. They leave not only with a winning record, but with a life experience of Australia that they will look back on fondly.
"The basketball experience was great for us...we've come back a better team and better men." - James Jones, Head Coach, Yale
After training together for just 5 days before spending more than 23 hours on two planes, the Bulldogs took to the court to take on Big V minor premiers Ringwood in their first game as a team. Despite leading 40-36 lead at halftime, Yale's travel schedule coupled with playing against a season-hardened team saw them fade in the second half. The hometown Hawks rode a 24-13 third quarter to finish with a 10 point victory.
Reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Justin Sears filled up the box score with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocked shots, but he was only warming up. He would go on to dominate the next three games to finish with a tour scoring average of 24.75 points per game across all 4 games.
A 27-11 third quarter blowout saw Yale rebound from their opening loss strongly as they were able to account for the Victorian Youth All Stars with Sears exploding for 29 points. They would back up to defeat Diamond Valley thanks to a consistent team effort across all four quarters and 30 points from Sears.
With Sears spearheading a 23-8 first quarter on his way to 28 points, the Bulldogs easily dispatched Manly-Warringah to round out a successful tour on court and a chance to bond together off it.
"Each player on our team was able to start at least one game, a testament to Coach James Jones," shared assistant coach Justin Simon.
"The club basketball system in Australia is fantastic. Each program we played had their youth teams in attendance and the family atmosphere at all of our games was a lot of fun."
"The bonding experience provided by this trip will do wonders for Yale Basketball this upcoming season. We made memories that will last a lifetime, and I am extremely grateful to be a part of something so special."
While in Melbourne, Yale also managed to catch up with Yale alumni and former Ivy League Player of Year (1988) and Australian NBL star Paul Maley. Maley spoke fondly of his time with the program.
"I had a tough adjustment period (being a homesick kid from the mountains of New Mexico and breaking my ankle) but then I grew to love it, shared Maley.
"I still feel lucky to have been able to go there; it was an amazing and challenging experience that shaped me as a person."
"James Jones has obviously done an amazing job for the Yale program. I'm sure Australian hoop fans would have enjoyed watching a quality team compete here."
Yale Tour of Australia Results
Game 1: Yale lost to Ringwood Hawks 75-85 (Mason 18 pts, Sears 12 pts, 8 reb, 5 blk)
Game 2: Yale defeated Victorian Youth Allstars 86-70 (Sears 29 pts)
Game 3: Yale defeated Diamond Valley Eagles 86-68 (Sears 30 pts, 15 reb)
Game 4: Yale defeated Manly-Warringah 95-69 (Sears 28 pts, 9 reb)