November 28, 2013

Bulldogs Head To Hartford

Yale Hopes To Build Momentum Following Tuesday's Dramatic Win

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs look to complete a perfect Thanksgiving Week when they travel to Hartford on Saturday. Tip off at the Chase Family Arena is slated for 4 p.m.

The turkey tasted just a little sweeter for Yale (3-3) after Tuesday's thrilling 79-76 victory at Lafayette. Javier Duren hit a 30-foot, three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Bulldogs to the win. Following a timeout with 3.5 seconds left, Matt Townsend inbounded the ball to Duren. Duren raced up court, pulled up from 30 feet and sank the jumper. Replay confirmed the basket beat the buzzer. That is the highlight to what has been a very solid season for Duren. He is averaging 16.0 points, nearly nine more than last season, while running the Bulldog offense.

One of the concerns for Yale heading into the season was three-point shooting, but Duren has helped ease those fears. He has a team-high 13 treys and the Bulldogs are shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc. Armani Cotton is coming off his best game of the season. Cotton was 6-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, en route to scoring a team-high 18 points in Tuesday's win. Yale continues to do the job on the glass. The Bulldogs outrebounded Lafayette 32-23 on Tuesday and have a +4.0 rebounding margin for the season.

Saturday's game is the last of three straight away from home for Yale, which hosts Bryant on Wednesday.

3 KEYS FOR YALE

Start Strong - Hartford coach John Gallagher was not at all pleased with his team's performance last Sunday against Holy Cross. With nearly a week to prepare, expect the Hawks to be ready to go from the opening tip.

Execute Down The Stretch – Recent history suggests that the outcome won't be decided until late in the game. The team that executes the best in the final minutes is the team that will come away with a victory.

Do The Job On The Boards – The biggest advantage Yale has would appear to be on the glass. The Bulldogs have a +4.0 rebounding margin on the season, including +10.7 in their three victories, while Hartford is -6.9 for the season.

WHO'S HOT

Justin Sears, who is averaging 19.5 points in the last two games, is third in the Ivy League in scoring and tied for fourth in rebounding. He has posted a pair of double-doubles so far.

• Javier Duren has scored in double figures in all six games this season. He reached double figures five times last season.

Jesse Pritchard is shooting 50 percent (7-of-14) from three-point range, which is fourth in the Ivy League. 

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale and Hartford have played a number of close games recently. Each of the last seven games has been decided by nine points or less, and a couple came down to the final possession. The Bulldogs had won four straight in the series before the Hawks came into Lee Amphitheater last year and escaped with a 60-51 victory. Justin Sears had eight points and four rebounds for Yale. Overall, Hartford leads the series 7-6. The Bulldogs have won the last two games played in West Hartford.

SCOUTING HARTFORD

After a grueling start to the season, the Hawks (2-5) have been off since falling to Holy Cross 80-55 last Sunday at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tournament at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Mark Nwakamma, a Preseason America East All-Conference pick, has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, compiling two contests with 20 or more points and a pair of double-doubles against Florida Gulf Coast (Nov. 12) and Fairfield (Nov. 13). The Hawks were picked to finish fourth in a preseason poll of the America East's head coaches. Hartford is second in the America East with more than seven three-pointers per game and is shooting the rock at a 36.4 percent clip, the second-best mark in the league.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity