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Bulldogs Advance To CIT Quarterfinals; Jones Becomes Yale’s All-Time Winningest Basketball Coach

Javier Duren (Don Clark photo)
Javier Duren (Don Clark photo)

Sears Scores 18 Points In 71-66 Win Over Holy Cross

WORCESTER, Mass.  – Yale's stay in the CollegeInsider Tournament goes on. Justin Sears scored 18 points to lead a balanced attack as the Bulldogs knocked off Holy Cross 71-66 before a boisterous crowd of 1,236 at the Hart Center.

Yale, who beat Quinnipiac in the opening round, advances to the quarterfinals. The opponent and date are yet to be determined.

"By tomorrow, there will only be 40 or 50 teams still playing, and we are one of them," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "That is great for our program."

It was also a milestone victory for Jones, who became the winningest men's basketball coach in school history. Jones now has 207 wins at Yale, surpassing Joe Vancisin, who guided the Bulldogs from 1956 to 1975.

Like Wednesday's victory over the Bobcats, this one didn't come easily. There were six ties and 12 lead changes.

The Bulldogs (17-13) trailed 66-65 with 1:43 left but scored the final six points of the game. The biggest shot was a three-pointer by Armani Cotton with 1:13 remaining that gave Yale the lead for good. It was Cotton's only field goal of the night.

Holy Cross (20-14) had a couple of chances to tie, including an Anthony Thompson layup that was blocked by Sears. After Javier Duren made one of two free throws with eight seconds left, the Crusaders had another opportunity to tie but Malcolm Miller missed a three pointer, and Duren chased down the rebound.

Duren then sealed the victory by hitting two free throws with one second remaining.

Sears finished 7-of-13 from the field and also had five blocked shots. Duren scored 13 points and a host of other Bulldogs contributed. Matt Townsend scored eight points, Jack Montague added seven, Brandon Sherrod and J.T. Flowers scored six and Nick Victor had five.

Yale's bench outscored Holy Cross' reserves 24-13.

"That's what sets us apart is our depth," said Duren. "There is no drop off when we go to our bench."

Both teams shot 52 percent from the field in the first half, but Holy Cross made five three-pointers and had a 34-31 lead at the break.

Yale was better at both ends of the floor in the second half. The Bulldogs were 13-of-22 from the field (59.1 percent) and held the Crusaders to 34.6 percent.

"We switched to a zone," Jones said. "We knew they had struggled against zones."

Yale also got hot from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs were 4-of-4 on three-pointers in the second half and are now 16 of 33 in the post season.

"We are sharing the ball a lot more," said Duren. "We have a lot of confidence in each other."

Malcolm Miller paced Holy Cross with 18 points.

NOTES: The Bulldogs had a 30-24 edge in rebounding and it was a team effort. No Yale player grabbed more than four… The Bulldogs have now won their last three games at the Hart Center… Columbia also advanced to the CIT Quarterfinals. The Lions edged Eastern Michigan.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity