Bulldogs Seek Season Sweep
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs will be looking for their third 2-0 Ivy League start in the last four years when they travel to Brown on Saturday. Tipoff at the Pizzitola Center is slated for 4 p.m.
It isn't likely to be easy. The two teams had a spirited battle last Saturday in New Haven. Justin Sears scored 20 points, and Armani Cotton added 19 points and nine rebounds as Yale held off the Bears 74-67 in a game that featured six ties and six lead changes. The strong performance from Sears and Cotton was a welcome sight for the Bulldogs, who have won two of their last three games. Sears, Yale's leading scorer, had been held to under 10 points in four straight games. The 19 points and nine rebounds were both season highs for Cotton, who hadn't scored in double figures since a victory over Lafayette in late November. In all, four Yale players reached double figures in the win over the Bears.
Sears was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance, sharing the honor with Columbia's Alex Rosenberg. Fourteen of Sears' 20 points against Brown came in the second half. Much of his damage in the game came at the free throw line where he went 12-of-15, including making five in the final 1:14 that helped seal the win.
Sears enters the weekend fourth in the Ivy League in scoring (15.1 ppg.), fifth in rebounding (6.5 rpg.), eighth in field goal percentage (.494) and third in blocked shots (24). In addition, his 48 offensive rebounds are the second most in the league.
3 KEYS FOR YALE
Shoot A Higher Percentage – The Bulldogs shot just 39.2 percent from the field last Saturday but made up for it by getting to the foul line 37 times. Duplicating that this week on the road may be difficult, so more accuracy from the field would serve Yale well.
Rebound – Brown had a 39-33 edge in rebounding in the first meeting. It was the first time all season that the Bulldogs won a game when losing the battle of the boards. Could they do it again? Better to not find out.
Contain McGonagill – Brown's Sean McGonagill, the Ivy League's leading scorer, had 17 points last Saturday, but they didn't come easily. Yale had good pressure on McGonagill throughout and will need to make him work hard for his points again this week.
• Javier Duren is shooting 40 percent (8-of-20) from three-point range in the last five games. In addition, Duren had a career-high five steals in last Saturday's win over Brown. He is second in the Ivy League in thefts (27, 1.8 per game).
• In the last two games, Yale's defense has forced 32 turnovers, including 19 last Saturday against Brown.
• Yale has held its last three opponents under to under 44 percent from the field.
Yale has won three of its last four games at the Pizzitola Center, but the loss came last year, 65-51. The Bulldogs are trying to sweep the season series from the Bears for the third time in the last four years. Overall, Yale has won seven of the last eight meetings and leads the all-time series 101-51.
Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, there will be one piece of good news for the Bulldogs. They won't have to face Brown's Sean McGonagill again, at least in the regular season. McGonagill, who leads the Ivy League in scoring at 18.3 ppg., was a first team All-Ivy selection last year and the 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year. He is fourth in Brown history in career points and third in assists and three-pointers. The Bears (8-7, 0-1 Ivy) also feature a potent front line. Rafael Maia, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds last Saturday, shares the Ivy League lead in rebounding at 8.5 rpg, and Cedric Kuakumensah is fourth in rebounding at 6.6 rpg. Brown is the top defensive rebounding team in the Ivy League at 29.3 per game.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity