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Yale Law Once Again Tops Harvard in Court Classic; Raises $8K for Public Interest

Though the final score was closer, the outcome of this year’s Court Classic was no different from last year’s: another Yale victory.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game of basketball ever played, but we got the job done,” remarked point guard Kenny Townsend ’12 after Yale’s 65-61 overtime victory on Nov. 18. Townsend and Zack Simmons ’14 led the Bulldogs with 14 points each in the eighth annual charity basketball game.

Held the night before the Harvard-Yale football game each year, the Court Classic is a joint fundraiser for Yale’s Incentive Program for Public Interest Employment (YiPPie!) and Harvard’s Office of Public Interest Advising. Proceeds help fund students who take unpaid summer work with nonprofit or government employers. This year’s game was held at the Hopkins School in New Haven and raised over $8,000 from law firm donations and ticket sales (see list of law firm sponsors below). 

Each team’s offense got off to a slow start. Midway through the first half, Patrick Moroney ’12 connected with Jeremy Kaplan-Lyman ’12 as the 6’5” center cut across the paint. Kaplan-Lyman caught the pass, took one step, and threw down a thunderous dunk over a Harvard defender. The crowd erupted. “I thought that was going to be it — the moment where we’d pull ahead and put the game out of reach,” said Moroney. But Harvard’s tough defense disrupted Yale’s offense, leaving the Bulldogs clinging to a 28-27 lead at halftime.

In past Court Classics, a team of Harvard faculty and staff has squared off against a Yale faculty team at halftime. Unfortunately, after its humiliating defeat in last year’s faculty game, Harvard was too scared to field a team this year. Nonetheless, several players from Yale’s 18-person roster joined forces with the Yale faculty to provide the crowd with some excitement. John Witt ’99 was the consensus breakout star, showing surprising speed and coordination in leading his team to an easy victory.

“My two boys could have beat the Harvard faculty team all by themselves, and their combined age is seven! The mere prospect of facing 6’11” power forward Daniel Markovits apparently scared them off,” said Witt, the Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law.

As the second half resumed, the game stayed close. Neither team ever led by more than five points. With the score tied at 58 and ten seconds left, Yale recovered a Harvard turnover and had a chance to score the go-ahead basket. Zack Simmons’s shot missed its mark, however, and the game went into overtime.

In overtime, Yale jumped out to an early lead. A key three-pointer by Webb Lyons ’14 and clutch free throw shooting by the Bulldogs sealed the win.

With this year’s win and last year’s 74-56 victory that snapped a five-year losing streak, Yale has begun to earn the upper hand in the Court Classic, despite an enrollment nearly three times smaller than Harvard’s.

YLS Court Classic Team Roster

Kathryn Bradley
Yoni Cohen
Forrest Dunbar
Miles Farmer
Chris Hollins
Jeremy Kaplan-Lyman
Anthony Moffa
Patrick Moroney
Zack Simmons
Shebby Swett
Kenny Townsend

Kevin Chen
Than DeJonge
Elliot Forhan
Matt Penny

Jamie Edwards
Webb Lyons
Chika Okafor
Chase Sackett
Jessica So
Jay Sykes

Halftime Faculty/Staff Team Roster

Jim Silk
James Forman
Bradley Hayes
Noah Messing
John Witt
Kevin Rose
Gregory Mitchell

Court Classic Sponsors

Appellate Court Level
Sidley Austin LLP
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz LLP

District Court Level
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Faculty Halftime Game Sponsor