Quinnipiac Outlasts Yale 71-64

Reggie Willhite. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Reggie Willhite. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Zampier Scores 29 Points For Bulldogs In Defeat

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's basketball team may have played its best defense of the season in Saturday night's home opener with Quinnipiac. The problem was the Bulldogs allowed the Bobcats too many opportunities to score. Quinnipiac grabbed 24 offensive rebounds and turned them into 32 points en route to a 71-64 victory over Yale before a crowd of 1,085 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

The main culprit was Bobcats forward Justin Rutty, who scored 23 points, most of which came after grabbing one of his 10 offensive rebounds.

"He did a tremendous job," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball at Yale. "He was the difference. If we keep him to three or four offensive rebounds, maybe we win the basketball game."

Alex Zampier had another big night for the Bulldogs, scoring 29 points. He was 12 of 22 from the field and added five assists and five steals in 33 minutes. Michael Sands added 10 points and six rebounds, while Reggie Willhite scored nine points. Jordan Gibson had seven points and seven rebounds and Paul Nelson scored five points.

Yale (1-3) held the Bobcats to 39.1 percent from the field and forced 20 turnovers.

Quinnipiac (2-1) led 33-26 at halftime and built the advantage to 17 midway through the second half. The Bulldogs, though, clawed their way back into it. Sands' conventional three-point play cut the deficit to five, 61-56, with 1:29 remaining. The Bobcats then made eight straight free throws to seal the win.

"Our kids are always going to keep playing hard," Jones said. "Every one of our losses has come down to a couple of possessions. If we can correct the mistakes, we'll be in a position to win. We're a young team. We're still trying to figure some things out."

James Feldeine had 14 points and was 8-of-8 from the foul line for the Bobcats. James Johnson added 13 points and six rebounds.  Quinnipiac was 19-of-24 from the foul line.

Quinnipiac led 24-15 with 5:54 left in the first half, but Yale scored the next seven points. The Bobcats then closed the half with a 9-2 run, capped by a Johnson three-pointer with 23 seconds left, to take a 33-26 lead at the intermission.

Yale was held to 38.2 percent shooting from the field in the second half.

"Our offense is not as fluid as it needs to be," said Zampier, who is averaging 24.5 points after four games. "We have to move the ball more."

A busy stretch continues for the Bulldogs when they travel to Hofstra for the next phase of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-off. Yale plays Charlotte on Monday and Elon on Tuesday. Both games begin at 4:30 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity