Finishes With Career-High 20 Points, 12 Rebounds
WORCESTER, Mass. – Yale's 61-54 victory over Holy Cross on Friday was all about effort. The Bulldogs got to every loose ball and did the job defensively down the stretch en route to the win over the Crusaders before 1,474 at the Hart Center.
Nobody epitomized that effort more than Armani Cotton, who scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both career highs.
Cotton spearheaded a Yale bench that outscored Holy Cross's 37-1.
"I pride myself on effort," Cotton said. "Not every shot is going to go in, but you can always control effort."
Five of Cotton's rebounds came on the offensive end, and he was 5-of-7 from the field and 10-of-10 from the foul line in addition to leading the team in floor burns.
"My hats off to Armani," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "He chased down every loose ball and had a career night."
Every ounce of effort was needed for Yale to secure the win. The score was tied at 51 with 2:45 left, but the Bulldogs scored the next six points. Matt Townsend started the run with an elbow jumper. Then Javier Duren's steal and layup put Yale up four. Cotton capped it with a pair of free throws.
Still, it took a couple of big plays from Michael Grace to seal the win. The Crusaders cut the lead to three on Phil Beans' three-pointer and had a chance to tie, but Grace blocked Justin Berrell's three-point shot. Grace added a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left.
All 10 players that saw action scored.
"It's a credit to everybody on the team," Cotton said. "Coach [Jones] always talks about being ready. It doesn't matter if you are a starter or a reserve."
The Bulldogs (5-10) shot only 32.2 percent from the field, but had 19 offensive rebounds, which led to 18 second-chance points.
Dave Dudzinski (18 points) and Burrell (17) combined to score 35 of Holy Cross's points.
The Crusaders (7-7) lost their third straight game.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Bulldogs, all of which came on a grueling three state trip to Nevada, Saint Mary's and Iowa State.
"This was a great team win. Our bench was tremendous," Jones said. "I thought we had played well at Iowa State [on Tuesday] so to have our effort rewarded tonight was important."
The Bulldogs had the lead for most of the game. The biggest advantage was 11 midway through the first half. The Crusaders, though, rallied and were within 31-29 at halftime.
Yale had the lead back at six, 46-41, midway through the second half, but Holy Cross fought back again.
NOTES: Freshman Nick Victor made the first start of his career. He finished with three points and five rebounds in 21 minutes… Yale's defense helped force Holy Cross into 23 turnovers… Yale also outrebounded the Crusaders 44-32… Yale was just 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) from three-point range. Holy Cross was only slightly better (5 of 17, 29.4 percent)… The Bulldogs host No. 9 Florida on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. The game is sold out will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity