- Associated Press - Sunday, March 12, 2017

PHILADELPHIA — Myles Stephens had a career-high 23 points and eight rebounds and Princeton won the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, beating Yale 71-59 Sunday to clinch its first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2011.

Princeton (23-6) won its 19th straight game overall and didn’t lose in Ivy play this season. A day earlier, the Tigers overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half and topped Penn in overtime at the Palestra, the Quakers’ home court.

The Tigers have proved a dangerous opponent at times come the NCAAs. In their last appearance, they lost to Kentucky 59-57 - in 1996, they upended defending national champion UCLA.

Steven Cook scored 15 points, Devin Cannady added 13 and Ivy League Player of the Year Spencer Weisz finished with eight assists for the top-seeded Tigers, who pulled away in the second half.

Alex Copeland had 14 points and Sam Downey had 12 for third-seeded Yale (18-11), the Ivy champs last season.

After its third big dunk of the first half put the Bulldogs up 23-16, Princeton rallied to take a 31-29 lead at the break.

Stephens, the tournament MVP who set his previous career high with 21 points in the semifinals, scored 10 points in the first five minutes of the second half to push Princeton to a 47-39 lead.

The Tigers led by as many as 14 from there, shooting 52 percent from the field and hitting seven 3-pointers in the second half. Princeton students rushed the Palestra court to celebrate.

Until this year, the Ivy had been the last Division I conference not to hold a tourney, sending its regular-season winner to the NCAA Tournament since the league was formed in 1956.

Yale reached the tournament title game by knocking off its own biggest rival in Harvard 73-71 in the second semifinal.

Long an afterthought in the Ivy, the Bulldogs have become one of the league’s premier teams over the past few years. In their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1962 last year, they upset Baylor in the first round. And a year before that, they came within a game of the NCAAs, losing to Harvard in a one-game playoff - also at the Palestra.

Despite losing key starters Hans Branse and Henry Caruso to injury early in the 2016-17 campaign, the Tigers returned to the top of the Ivy League.

The Bulldogs await word if they’ll be invited to the NIT, or another postseason tournament.

The Tigers are headed to their 25th NCAA Tournament. If they can pull off a first-round upset, they would match the program’s longest winning streak at 20 games.

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