Bulldogs Seek Third Straight Win

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Javier Duren. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale Hosts Bryant Wednesday At 7:30 p.m.

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs are back in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater for only the second time this season when Bryant visits on Wednesday. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. following the Yale-Bryant women's game which begins at 5 p.m.

Yale (4-3) is riding a two-game winning streak, although each victory came in different fashion. Against Lafayette, the Bulldogs shot 52.7 percent from the field, including 64.3 percent from three-point range. Still, Yale needed a Javier Duren three-pointer at the buzzer to escape with a 79-76 win. Saturday's victory over Hartford was nearly as close but was much more of a defensive struggle. The Bulldogs held the Hawks to 33.3 percent from the field and forced 19 turnovers en route to a 54-49 win. Yale rallied from a seven-point second-half deficit, thanks in part to the play of Justin Sears, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half, including six straight that ignited a 15-5 Yale run that started the comeback.

Sears (17.6 ppg., 7.9 rpg.) leads the Bulldogs in scoring and rebounding. His double-double against Hartford was his third of the young season, and he has reached double figures in scoring in all seven games. Duren (15.1 ppg.) and Armani Cotton (10.0 ppg.) also average double figures in scoring.

Wednesday is the first of two straight home games for Yale, which hosts New Hampshire on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Bulldogs played six of their first seven games away from home.

3 KEYS FOR YALE

Start Strong – Bryant is 4-0 this season when it has the lead at halftime. Yale has shown the ability to come from behind, but a good start could make life easier.

Attack The Basket – The Bulldogs were at their best in Saturday's win over Hartford when they were aggressive on offense. Yale had 19 free throw attempts in the second half, grabbed eight offensive rebounds and outscored the Hawks 34-26.

Protect Home Court – Yale is 28-9 over the last three years in Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs were impressive in an 80-65 victory over Sacred Heart in the home opener last month, and would like to continue their home court momentum.

WHO'S HOT

• Justin Sears is fourth in the Ivy League in scoring and tied for third in rebounding. In addition, his 27 offensive rebounds and 14 blocked shots are the second most in the league.

Jesse Pritchard entered the season shooting 29.8 percent in his career from three-point range. This year, he is hitting on 52.9 percent of his treys, which is fourth in the league.

• Armani Cotton is averaging 13.0 points and shooting 53.3 percent from the field during Yale's two-game winning streak. 

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale and Bryant are playing for the sixth consecutive season. Yale has won five straight in the series, including a 64-62 win last year in Rhode Island. Justin Sears' put back as time expired was the game-winning basket. Sears finished with a then career-high 20 points and added nine rebounds. Yale has won both of the previous two meetings at Lee Amphitheater, including a 76-59 win in 2011.

SCOUTING BRYANT

Bryant (5-2) has won three straight games. Yale is the fourth Ivy League opponent for Bryant, which has beaten Dartmouth and Brown but lost to Harvard. Dyami Starks (23.2 ppg.) leads the team in scoring. He scored 35 points against Gonzaga and also had 35 against Dartmouth and 30 against Brown. Starks, Alex Francis (15.6 ppg.) and Joe O'Shea (10.3 ppg.) account for more than half of Bryant's points. Francis (6.0 rpg.) also is team's top rebounder. There are a couple of familiar faces on the Bryant sidelines. Tim O'Shea, who is in his sixth year as head coach, spent two years as an assistant coach at Yale under Dick Kuchen. In addition, associate head coach Happy Dobbs is a former Brown head coach, and associate head coach Al Skinner is a former head coach at Boston College and Rhode Island.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity