Sears’ Last Second Three-Pointer Sends Yale Forward In CIT

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Sears' lining up the game-winner (dspics.com)

Bulldogs Knock Off Quinnipiac 69-68 In Thriller

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It wasn't exactly the way it was drawn up, but the end result was quite satisfying for Yale. Justin Sears banked in a three-pointer from the wing with seven-tenths of a second left to lift the Bulldogs to a thrilling 69-68 victory over Quinnipiac in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament before a vocal crowd at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

"Sometimes players make plays," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.

Trailing 68-66 with 7.1 seconds left, Jones called a play that he thought would result in a layup for Sears. When that wasn't there, Sears had to improvise.

"I guess the Gods were looking down upon me," said Sears, who had missed a free throw with 14 seconds left that would have tied the score.

The three-pointer was only the fourth of his career.

Sears, though, has made a habit of hitting game-winning shots. Last year as a freshman, his put back beat Bryant in the final seconds, and earlier this season he converted an offensive rebound with 4.4 seconds in overtime in Yale's win over Princeton.

Sears' success on Wednesday came with a bit of blurry vision. He lost a contact prior to shooting the two free throws with 14 seconds left and was unable to replace it.

The win moves Yale to the second round of the CIT. The Bulldogs play at Holy Cross on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Crusaders beat Brown on Monday.

It was also a milestone victory for Jones, who won his 206th game at Yale, tying him with Joe Vancisin as the school's all-time winningest men's basketball coach.

"Coach Vancisin is a tremendous man and an unbelievable coach," said Jones. "It's an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as him"

Javier Duren paced Yale with 17 points in the game. Matt Townsend added 12 and Sears had 11.

The Bulldogs (16-13) also got a strong game from their bench, which outscored Quinnipiac's reserves 20-11. Jack Montague the way with nine points, and Jesse Pritchard had six.

Evan Conti led Quinnipiac with 17 points. Ousmane Drame added 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The Bobcats, who lead the nation in rebounding, had a 44-34 edge on the boards. Yale, though, managed 12 offensive rebounds, including six from Sears.

The game was close throughout and featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes.

The Bobcats (20-12) had their biggest lead, 63-57, with 3:30 left, but Duren and Montague hit back-to-back three-pointers to tie it.

Quinnipiac went back up by four, 67-63, on a Shaq Shannon jumper, but Townsend made a pair of free throws with 1:07 left.

The Bulldogs then forced a turnover with the shot clock winding down. Following Sears missed free throw, Quinnipiac's Kasim Chandler was fouled chasing down a rebound with 7.1 seconds left. Chandler made only one of the two free throws, giving Yale the chance to win with a three-pointer.

The victory was the second in postseason play for Yale, which topped Rutgers 67-65 at the RAC in the 2002 NIT.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity