Sears Scores 21 Points To Lead Well-Rounded Attack
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Yale is making a habit of playing well at Lavietes Pavilion. Justin Sears scored 21 points and Makai Mason added 15 as the Bulldogs won at Harvard for the third straight year, knocking off the Crimson .67-55 before a sell-out crowd of 2,195.
Yale (17-5) has won 12 straights games, its longest winning streak since 1948-49 and one shy of the school record set in 1906-07. More importantly, the Bulldogs are 8-0 in Ivy League play.
It was defense that keyed the victory. Yale held the Crimson to 40.4 percent from the field, including just 25 percent (4-of-16) from three-point range. Harvard came into the game as the league's top three-point shooting team at 38.8 percent.
"We pride ourselves on our defense, and we just tried to work hard," said Sears. "We didn't want their shooters to get open looks."
Anthony Dallier (10 points) was the other Bulldog to finish in double figures. Nick Victor contributed seven points, 12 rebounds and six assists in 34 minutes. Brandon Sherrod and Sam Downey each scored six points, Blake Reynolds had two and Khaliq Ghani grabbed two rebounds.
"This was a good team effort," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "Khaliq, Sam and Blake all gave us something off the bench."
Downey, who was forced to play 22 minutes when Sherrod got into early foul trouble, also had six rebounds and played excellent post defense on Harvard's leading scorer Zena Edosomwan.
"Zena's a great player. I just tried to get him out of the block," Downey said. "In every game I get an opportunity, I'm just trying to get better and make an impact."
Not being forced to double team Edosomwan helped keep Harvard's three-point shooters from getting open shots.
"We were pretty good guarding him 1-on-1 in the post," Jones said.
Edosomwan finished with 18 points but was only 8-of-15 from the field. Cory Johnson (14 points) was the only other Harvard player to score in double figures.
The Crimson had an early four-point lead, but the Bulldogs seized control with an 8-0 run midway through the first half that put them ahead by seven, 24-17. By halftime, Yale had built an 11-point lead, 37-26, and the advantage grew to as many as 18 early in the second half.
Harvard (10-14, 2-6 Ivy) never got closer than 10 in the second half.
NOTES: Yale remains one of only three teams undefeated in conference play, joining Stony Brook (12-0, America East) and Stephen F Austin (12-0, Southland)… The Bulldogs' 12-game winning streak is currently the second longest in the nation. Stony Brook has won 17 in a row… Yale was outrebounded for just the third time this season. Harvard had a 36-33 rebounding edge… The Bulldogs were 14-of-18 from the free throw line, while Harvard was just 9-of-18… Princeton moved into second place in the league with an 88-83 overtime victory at Columbia. The Tigers are 6-1, while the Lions fell to 6-2. Yale and Princeton meet next Friday at Jadwin Gym. Tip is slated for 7 p.m.