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Gibson Has Career Night But Bulldogs Fall To Charlotte 88-74

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

Scores 25 Points, Grabs Seven Rebounds

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.  - Yale had a pretty good idea that Charlotte's Shamari Spears would be a force in Monday game. What the Bulldogs didn't expect was for Derrio Green to go off from three-point range. Green, who entered the night 1-of-14 from beyond the arc, made six three-pointers and Spears, a transfer from Boston College, added 28 points to lead the 49ers to an 88-74 victory over Yale in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-off at Hofstra's Mack Sports Complex.

Charlotte (3-1) scored the first 12 points of the game, but the Bulldogs clawed their way back and took a one-point lead midway through the second half. The 49ers then used a late rally to pull away.

"We got off to a slow start but battled back," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "The start became insignificant when we took the lead, but then we didn't do what was necessary to hold on."

Jordan Gibson paced Yale with a career-high 25 points. He was 10-of-14 from the field and added seven rebounds. Alex Zampier scored 19 points, and Michael Sands, a Long Island native who was playing in front of numerous family and friends, had 11 points.

"Jordan did a tremendous job," Jones said. "It was a career night. I just wish it had come in a win."

Spears made 13-of-15 shots and grabbed six rebounds, despite being limited to 25 minutes after picking up two early fouls. Green was 6-of-11 on three-pointers.

The Bulldogs played without 6-10 center Paul Nelson, who continues to be bothered by an ankle injury.

It looked like it might be a long night for Yale when the 49ers led 12-0 less than three minutes into the game. The Bulldogs, though, stayed with Charlotte and then closed the first half with a 14-3 run, capped by Gibson's three-pointer from half court at the buzzer, to pull within 41-40.

"I just heaved it," said Gibson, who said he had never made a half-court shot in a game before. "It felt good. I knew it was going in when it got about halfway."

Gibson scored 16 of his points in the first half using a variety of jump shots and drives to the basket.

"If they give me the shot, I have to take it," said Gibson, who has scored in double figures in four of five games. "Teams are keying in so much on [Zampier] that I have to shoot."

The Bulldogs (1-4) took their first lead of the night, 51-50, on Gibson's layup with 14:12 left. Charlotte, though, answered with a 7-2 run. After Michael Grace's layup pulled Yale back within two, the 49ers scored seven straight points to regain control.

Charlotte shot 51.7 percent from the field in the game and outrebounded the Bulldogs 34-28.

Both teams shot well from the foul line. Yale made 20-of-23 free throws, while the 49ers connected on 19-of-22.

The Bulldogs are right back in action on Tuesday in the final game of the NIT when they play Elon at 4:30 p.m. The Phoenix lost to Hofstra 70-46 in the second game of the night.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity