Hofstra Edges Yale 68-63 In NIT Season Tipoff

Jordan Gibson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jordan Gibson. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Zampier Scores 18 Points To Pace Bulldogs

STORRS, Conn. - In Monday night's game with Hofstra, the Yale men's basketball team addressed many of the issues that led to a season-opening loss to Sacred Heart. That made the result all the more frustrating. Nathaniel Lester scored 19 points to lead three players in double figures as the Pride edged the Bulldogs 68-63 in the first round of the Dick's Sporting Good NIT Season Tip-off at Gampel Pavilion.

"Today was a step forward," said senior Jordan Gibson. "We played better at the beginning and were way better defensively [than against Sacred Heart]. We had our chances."

The Bulldogs (0-2) trailed by only three, 63-60, when Gibson made a conventional three-point play with 1:44 left. Cornelius Vines then made one of two free throws, and after a Yale miss, Charles Jenkins helped seal the victory with a driving layup as the shot clock was winding down.

Alex Zampier followed up his career-high 35-point performance against Sacred Heart by scoring 18 points for the Bulldogs. He was 6 of 18 from the field and made all four of his free throws. Gibson added 11 points, while Michael Sands had nine points and a team-high seven rebounds, and freshman Austin Morgan scored nine points.

"We were better tonight than Friday," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "We're a young team and we're still defining roles."

Hofstra, which opened its season with a loss to No. 1 Kansas on Friday, dominated the boards, outrebounding the Bulldogs 42-22.

The Pride also had control on the inside, especially in the second half when they outscored Yale 22-8 in the paint.

"We can't be a jump shooting team," Jones said. "We have to get some things inside."

Jenkins played the whole game for Hofstra and finished with 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Greg Washington added 10 points and Halil Kanacevic had eight points and nine rebounds.

The Bulldogs, who fell behind Sacred Heart 20-8 after five minutes, got off to a much better start on Monday. Michael Grace's short jumper gave Yale a 16-9 lead with 11:11 left. The Pride, though, rallied, tying the score at 23 and then using a 7-0 run to take a 30-24 lead at the intermission.

"We have spurts of bad offense or bad defense, but we'll become more consistent," Gibson said. "We're only two games into the season."

Hofstra built the advantage to 17 midway through the second half before the Bulldogs started their comeback. Gibson and Sands combined to score 12 points during a 24-10 run that got Yale back in the game.

The Bulldogs' defense forced Hofstra into 22 turnovers, which led to 23 points.

Yale plays Colgate on Tuesday in the NIT. The Raiders put up a good fight but dropped a 77-63 decision to 12th-ranked UConn. Tipoff at Gampel Pavilion is slated for 4:30 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity