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Bulldogs Dominate On Glass, Cruise Past Central Connecticut

Justin Sears (USC Sports Information)
Justin Sears (USC Sports Information)

Sherrod Records Double-Double With 12 Points, 10 Rebounds

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – Facing a 16-day layoff, it figured Yale might struggle a bit from the field Wednesday at Central Connecticut. The solution was simply to get the ball back. The Bulldogs grabbed 21 offensive rebounds which they turned into 19 second-chance points en route to an easy 62-42 victory over the Blue Devils at Detrick Gymnasium.

"That's Yale Basketball," said Justin Sears of the prowess on the offensive boards. "That's what we practice every day."    

Yale, which entered the night seventh in the nation in offensive rebounds per game, shot just 38.1 percent from the field but dominated on the inside. The Bulldogs scored 42 points in the paint and had a commanding 51-28 overall edge on the boards.

Sears scored 15 points and had eight rebounds to lead a balanced attack. Brandon Sherrod recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Makai Mason (11 points) and Sam Downey (10) also scored in double figures. Nick Victor contributed nine points, Eric Anderson had three points and four rebounds, and Anthony Dallier chipped in two points and five rebounds.

In all, seven players had at least four rebounds for the Bulldogs, who were playing for the first time since a Dec. 13 loss at USC.

"We were a little bit rusty," said Sears, who also had two of Yale's eight blocks. "We didn't shoot our best but guys played well on the defensive end, and we were able to chase the ball."

Yale (6-5) held Central Connecticut to just 34 percent shooting from the field.

"We had good weak side help, and we didn't let them get anything in transition," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "We also were really good with our rotations which was helpful."

The Blue Devils (1-10) had an early 7-2 lead, but Yale scored 17 straight points over an eight-minute stretch of the first half to seize control.

Yale's advantage was 31-18 at halftime. CCSU pulled within eight early in the second half, but the Bulldogs answered with a 14-2 run, capped by a Sherrod three-point play, to put the game away.

Austin Nehls and Malik Toppin each scored 10 points to lead Central Connecticut.

With three non-conference games left, Yale still has some fine-tuning to do before the Ivy opener on Jan. 16 against Brown. The Bulldogs were a bit sloppy, finishing with 13 turnovers, many of them unforced.

"We need to handle the ball better," Jones said. "If we can do that, we have a chance to be really good, especially the way we rebound."

NOTES: Sears' two blocks give him 172 in his career, which is tied with Chris Dudley for the second most in school history. Greg Mangano is Yale's all-time leader with 213… Sears also moved past Edwin Draughan into seventh-place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,419 career points… Yale's bench outscored Central Connecticut's reserves 15-12… The Bulldogs were just 2-of-10 from three-point range. Victor made both of Yale's treys… The Bulldogs play their final non-conference road game on Saturday at Hartford. After that the Bulldogs have seven of their next eight games in the friendly confines of the John J. Lee Amphitheater, including five of their first six Ivy games… Tipoff at Hartford on Saturday is slated for 7 p.m.

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