Defensive Minded Western Illinois Holds Off Yale 59-47

Brandon Sherrod (Ron Waite photo)

Sherrod, Duren Pace Bulldogs With Nine Points

OAKLAND CITY, Ind. – The Yale men's basketball team handled a stingy Western Illinois defense quite well in the first half Sunday in the final game of the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Bulldogs scored 32 points, the most the Leathernecks had allowed in a half this season.

The second half, though, was a different story. Yale shot just 24 percent from the field, and watched as Western Illinois used a 16-0 run to seize control en route to a 59-47 victory at the Johnson Center.

The Leathernecks (3-2) have allowed just 51 points per game in their first five games.

Adam Link scored a career-high 18 points to lead Western Illinois' offense. Ceola Clark added 12 points and six assists and Jack Houpt scored 10 points.

Freshman Justin Sears had another solid all-around game for the Bulldogs, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals. Brandon Sherrod and Javier Duren each scored nine points to pace Yale (1-4). Jeremiah Kreisberg added six points.

Both teams were playing their third game in three days.

Sears' tip in as time expired gave the Bulldogs a 32-31 lead the intermission. Yale then took its biggest lead of the game, 41-35, on two Kreisberg free throws with 14:12 left.

The Bulldogs, though, were held scoreless for nearly eight minutes, and Western Illinois took advantage. Jason Hawthorne's three-pointer gave the Leathernecks a 51-41 lead. Yale got back within six on a Kreisberg layup but could get no closer the rest of the way.

Western Illinois was efficient offensively over the final 20 minutes as well, making 10-of-19 shots from the field, 4-of-5 three-pointers and 4-of-5 free throws.

NOTES: Yale's first two games of the classic were played at the University of Evansville's Ford, but the venue Sunday shifted to the Johnson Center in Oakland City, which is about 30 minutes outside Evansville… Western Illinois won two of its three games in the classic… Yale's bench outscored Western Illinois' 12-5… Seven of Sears' rebounds came on the offensive end… The Bulldogs had 11 offensive rebounds in the game but they led to only eight second-chance points… Sherrod's nine points came in only 18 minutes as we was hindered by early foul trouble… Yale is back in action on Wednesday at Vermont at 7 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

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