Friars Escape With 76-74 Win Despite 31-Point Performance From Justin Sears
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – It took Yale about 10 minutes to shake off the rust from a nine-day layoff for final exams. Once the Bulldogs found their rhythm, they gave a good Providence team all it could handle.
The Friars, though, got 21 points from Bryce Cotton and 19 from Tyler Harris to escape with a 76-74 victory at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Yale trailed by 15 with nine minutes remaining in the first half, but outscored Providence 61-48 the rest of the way. The Bulldogs shot 68.2 percent (15-of-22) from the field in the second half.
"We got off to a slow start, but we battled back and showed a lot of fight," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "Down the stretch we just didn't make enough plays."
Nevertheless, it was an impressive performance.
Yale closed the first half with an 18-3 run to tie the score at 35 at the intermission. The lead went back and forth for much of the second half before Providence built a 73-67 with two minutes left. Yale then scored five straight points to pull within one.
After LaDontae Henton's layup pushed the lead back to three with 22 seconds left, the Bulldogs had a chance to tie with under 20 seconds left, but Carson Desrosier intercepted a Javier Duren pass.
Kadeem Batts then hit one of two free throws with five seconds left to seal it. Justin Sears made a driving layup as time expired.
Sears was outstanding for the Bulldogs, scoring a career-high 31 points. He finished 13-of-16 from the field.
"Justin was great," Jones said. "He played under control."
It was the first 30-point performance by a Yale player since Greg Mangano '12 scored 35 against St. Joseph's in 2012.
The Bulldogs also got a solid performance from Greg Kelley, who made three three-pointer en route to scoring a season-high 11 points. Brandon Sherrod added nine points and Armani Cotton, Duren and Nick Victor each had six. Duren also contributed six assists and had just one turnover.
Providence (9-2) was uncharacteristically hot from three-point range to start the game. The Friars, who entered the night shooting just 32 percent from beyond the arc, made their first five in building their early lead.
"We wanted them to shoot threes," Jones said. "If they shoot their [normal] percentage, maybe it is a different result."
Yale had a 20-11 rebounding edge in the first half, but the tide turned in the second half.
The Friars grabbed nine offensive rebounds over the final 20 minutes, which they turned into eight points.
"We didn't rebound the ball well enough in the second half," Jones said.
The Bulldogs are back in action on Friday when they play at Albany. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity