Sacred Heart Visits For Home Opener

Sacred Heart Visits For Home Opener

Bulldogs Host Pioneers Tuesday Night

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs hit the floor in the John J. Lee Amphitheater for the first time this season when Sacred Heart comes to town on Tuesday night. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. Yale has won six of its last eight home openers.

The Bulldogs (1-2) haven't played since a heartbreaking 72-71 loss at Rutgers last Thursday night. While disappointed with the result, it was an encouraging performance for Yale, which led for a large majority of the second half. While the sample size is still small, the Bulldogs seem to have addressed the biggest question mark entering the season - long-range shooting. Yale is 21-of-56 (37.5 percent) from three-point range. Jesse Pritchard made three against Rutgers and is 5-for-9 for the season. Javier Duren (5), Armani Cotton (4) and freshman Anthony Dallier (3) have also emerged as threats from beyond the arc. Justin Sears (18.3 ppg.) and Duren (17.7 ppg.) lead the team in scoring. Sacred Heart is the second Northeast Conference opponent and third Connecticut rival for the Bulldogs. Yale rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to defeat Central Connecticut in the opener on Nov. 9 and then dropped an 80-62 decision at UConn. The matchup with Sacred Heart is the only home game in the month of November for the Bulldogs, who don't play again in Lee Amphitheater until Dec. 4 against Bryant. In all, Yale is playing six of its first seven games away from home.

3 KEYS FOR YALE                   

Defend The Perimeter: Sacred Heart relies heavily on the three-point shot. The Pioneers have attempted nearly 25 treys a game and make more than eight per game. The Bulldogs have struggled defending the three so far this season, allowing their opponents to shoot 46.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Control The Pace: While the Bulldogs have had success pushing the ball, they may be better suited slowing down and exploiting their size advantage in the post. The Pioneers have only two players 6-8 or taller on their roster.

Rebound: Yale was outrebounded for the first time this season last Thursday against Rutgers. That can't happen too often for the Bulldogs to be successful. Sacred Heart has been outrebounded by 12 per game so far this season.


In the last two games, Duren is averaging 18.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and has handed out seven assists. Against Rutgers, Duren scored a career-high 22 points.

Sears posted double-doubles in the first two games of the season before getting into early foul trouble against Rutgers. In the win over Central Connecticut, Sears scored 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, both career highs.  He followed that up with a 17-point, 10-rebound effort against UConn.

Cotton has scored in double figures in two of the three games, including a 17-point performance in the opener against Central Connecticut.


Yale and Sacred Heart have played close games in each of the last two seasons. Two years ago in Fairfield, the Bulldogs had to hold their breath as Shane Gibson missed a three-pointer as time expired, allowing Yale to escape with a 73-71 win. The Bulldogs rallied from a nine-point deficit to win. Last year at the Connecticut 6 Classic, it was the Pioneers who used a comeback to win. Sacred Heart rallied from a 24-point second-half deficit to win 85-82 in overtime. Overall, Yale leads the series 7-5 and has won four of the five games in New Haven.


Yale is the second straight Ivy League opponent for the Pioneers, who dropped an 85-73 decision to Brown in their home opener on Saturday. Sacred Heart also has been involved in one of the wildest games of the young season, dropping an NBA like 122-118 double-overtime decision at Holy Cross. Four players average double figures in scoring, led by Louis Montes at 20.3 ppg. Evan Kelley averages 18.0. The Pioneers were picked eighth in the Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' poll. Anthony Latina is in his first year as the head coach at Sacred Heart. He took over after Dave Bike retired after 35 seasons at the helm.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity