Samson Aletan saves the day for Yale University. Amazing photo courtesy of David Schamis.

The NCAA committee which determines seeding for March Madness put Ivy League’s Yale University at number 13 in the eastern division and SEC tournament champion Auburn at number 4, but we in Lake Highlands could have told them they were a bubble off. Yale has a secret weapon in their freshman class. A magic bullet. An ace-in-the-hole.

Sign up for our newsletter!

* indicates required

Big Man Samson Aletan, Lake Highlands High School graduate and leader of last year’s state championship-winning team, blocked shot after shot in the final moments to secure the upset.

Auburn led 61-51 with 9:53 to go until Yale forced them into a scoring drought. The Tigers went more than three scoreless minutes as Yale sliced the lead to just four with 4:41 to go. At 2:11, junior John Poulakidas brought Yale ahead 73-72 with a 3-pointer and Aletan denied Auburn’s repeated attempts to put the ball in the net.

It was magical. Yale won 78-76.

“Samson comes and brings it in practice every day, and he’s going to be ready for us down the road,” Yale head coach James Jones told  Yale Daily News reporter Ben Raab, who wrote an enthusiastic review of Aletan’s big day as an “unlikely hero” on the court. “I look forward to him being a bright and big part of our future.”

“The coaches always tell me to be ready,” Aletan said after the game. “I know that in certain matchups and certain games they’re gonna unleash me. So when the time came, I knew I was ready for the big moment.”

To be fair, Yale had a second secret weapon.

Their marching band couldn’t make the cross-country trip to Spokane to support the team, so they called the band director at the University of Idaho and asked if he’d be willing to let his kids step in. Spencer Martin got to work teaching his students the Yale Fight Song, and Yale t-shirts made it to the venue just in time.

“We got the music this morning,” trombonist Andre Moore told KXLY-TV in Spokane. “We learned it, and I think we sound pretty good.”

“The Sound of Idaho” band will join Big Sam, still wearing jersey number 10 as he did in his days as a Wildcat, back on the floor tonight/Sunday at 8:40 p.m. Dallas time when Yale faces San Diego State in the second round. Go Bulldogs.