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Bulldogs Stay Perfect, Topple Lehigh 79-67

Jack Montague (courtesy Lehigh Athletics)
Jack Montague (courtesy Lehigh Athletics)

Four Players Score In Double Figures

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The battle of preseason league favorites went to Yale. Justin Sears flirted with a quadruple double, finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and eight blocks, as the Bulldogs, picked to win the Ivy League, knocked off Patriot League favorite Lehigh 79-67 at Stabler Arena.

Yale (3-0) is off to its best start since the 1950-51 team also won its first three games.

"This was a big win for us, on the road against a good Lehigh team that was picked to win their league," said Jack Montague, who paced the Bulldogs with a career-high 21 points.

Makai Mason (12 points) and Brandon Sherrod (10) joined Sears and Montague in double figures.

Montague's deadly three-point shooting was the perfect complement to Sears' and Sherrod's dominance on the inside.

"We're so dynamic on offense," said Montague, who was 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. "Justin and Brandon have been playing well down low, and Makai's been driving to the basket so that opens it up for me. They [Lehigh] were going under screens and coach [James Jones] gives me the green light."

Sears spearheaded a strong defensive effort that held Lehigh to 37.5 percent shooting from the field. His eight blocked shots were one shy of Chris Dudley's school record set in 1987.

"Coach [Jones] challenged me [to improve] on defense before the game," said Sears, who joked that he had one quadruple double as a junior in high school but one of the categories was turnovers.

Sears' seven assists were also a career high.

The Bulldogs dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Mountain Hawks 48-26. Nick Victor led the way with 11 rebounds, matching the career high he set in Monday's win over Sacred Heart.

Victor added nine points and two blocks. Sam Downey scored seven points, and Khaliq Ghani and Anthony Dallier each contributed two points.

Austin Price paced Lehigh (0-3) with 23 points. Tim Kempton, last year's Patriot League Player of the Year, scored 16 points, but was just 3-of-13 from the field.

Trailing 25-22, the Bulldogs closed the first half on 14-3 run and led 36-28 at the break.

Lehigh pulled within three, 66-63, with 3:40 left, but Yale scored the next 11 points. Mason made seven free throws in the final 3:16 to help seal it.

Yale scored 43 points and shot 52 percent (13-of-25) from the field in the second half.

There were nine ties and four lead changes in the early going before the Bulldogs seized control late in the first half.

NOTES: Yale finished with 12 blocked shots in the game... Yale's average margin of victory in its three wins is 15.7 points… The Bulldogs had 16 assists on their 26 field goals… Yale was 18-of-21 from the free throw line. Mason finished 9-of-10 from the charity striple… The Bulldogs will look for their first 4-0 start since 1949-50 when they play at SMU on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. EST. That game will be televised on ESPNews… Yale then travels on to Duke for a game next Wednesday at 7 p.m. that will air on ESPNU.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity