Bulldogs Host Baruch
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs play their final non-conference game of the season on Saturday against Baruch. Tip off at the John J. Lee Amphitheater is slated for 2 p.m. Yale (5-8) then opens Ivy League play next Saturday at home against Brown.
It's been a productive non-league schedule for the Bulldogs, who have impressive road victories at Hartford and Lafayette and close losses to Rutgers (72-71) and Providence (76-74) on their resume. Rebounding has been the most important statistic for Yale thus far this season. In their five wins, the Bulldogs have a +8.8 rebounding margin, while they are -3.9 in their eight losses. In addition, Yale is 5-1 when it outrebounds its opponents.
Justin Sears and Javier Duren have emerged as two of the most improved players in the Ivy League. Sears enters the weekend fourth in the conference in scoring (15.5 ppg.), fifth in rebounding (6.6 rpg.), seventh in field goal percentage (.503) and third in blocked shots (23). Last year he averaged 9.5 points and 5.3 rebounds. Duren also is among the league leaders in several categories. He is sixth in scoring (13.9 ppg.), fifth in assists (39), seventh in free throw percentage (.797) and tied for second in steals (20). Duren, who provided the most memorable moment of the season so far when he hit a 30-foot, three-pointer at the buzzer to beat Lafayette, has improved his scoring average by nearly six points from a year ago and also is shooting a better percentage from three-point range.
One area the Bulldogs will look to improve on as they head into league play is three-point shooting. Over the last seven games, Yale is shooting just 22.7 percent from beyond the arc.
3 KEYS FOR YALE
Confidence Boost – The Bulldogs have lost four straight, but all four came to teams that reached the post season last year and have an excellent chance of returning come March. A victory in the final tune up before Ivy League play would be a good morale booster.
Build An Early Lead – The longer Baruch keeps the game close, the more the Bearcats will believe they can pull off an upset.
Capitalize In The Paint – The Bulldogs have a significant size advantage and need to exploit it. The front court players had a number of good opportunities against Vermont but couldn't capitalize.
• In the last two games, Nick Victor is shooting 70 percent (7-of-10) from the field, while averaging 7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds. Against Saint Louis, he finished with nine points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
• Freshman Anthony Dallier had perhaps the best game of his young career Wednesday against Vermont. He scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out two assists in 21 minutes.
Baruch is making its second appearance in Lee Amphitheater. The Bulldogs beat the Bearcats 85-57 in 2011. Three players on the current roster saw action in that game for Yale. Jeremiah Kreisberg, who isn't playing this season due to an injury, started and scored 11 points in 19 minutes. Jesse Pritchard played 11 minutes and scored one point, while Isaiah Salafia had two points and an assist in 10 minutes.
Baruch (7-6) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 69-61 victory over Brooklyn College on Tuesday night. Granville Gittens (13.3 ppg.) leads the Bearcats in scoring, despite starting only two of the team's 13 games. He also averages a team-best 6.5 rebounds. The Bearcats are shooting 73 percent from the free throw line this season. John Alesi is in his second season as Baruch's head coach. Alesi, a 2003 graduate of Baruch College, returned to Baruch following stints as an assistant coach with the Division I staffs at the University of Pittsburgh (2005-06), Hofstra University (2003-2004), and Manhattan College (2006-10).
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity