Sears Heads Home For Matchup With Rutgers

Isaiah Salafia (dspics.com)

Bulldogs Hope For Similar Results As Last Trip To The RAC

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs (1-1) continue to familiarize themselves with the new American Athletic Conference. After dropping an 80-62 decision at UConn on Monday, Yale travels to New Jersey to face Rutgers on Thursday. Tip off at the RAC is slated for 7:30 p.m. Video of the game is available at ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN app with Jason Horowitz on the play-by-play and John Celestand providing color commentary.

Monday's game with UConn was closer than the final score indicated. The Bulldogs were within striking distance for much of the second half, including pulling within 11 with four minutes left, but the Huskies ran off 10 straight points to seal the win.

The Bulldogs have a +11.5 rebounding margin through their first two games. Much of the damage has come on the offensive end. Yale had 10 offensive rebounds against Central Connecticut, which led to 14 second-chance points and then had 22 offensive rebounds against UConn that led to 21 points. The Bulldogs also have been shooting well from beyond the arc (14-of-36, .389). Justin Sears has posted double-doubles in both games for the Bulldogs. On Monday, he was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 rebounds against Central Connecticut. He followed that up with a 17-point, 10-rebound performance at UConn.

3 Keys For Yale

Continue To Control The Glass: Yale has had a big rebounding edge in each of its first two games. The Bulldogs outrebounded Central Connecticut by 11 and No. 19 UConn by 12. Rutgers, on the other hand, has been outrebounded by seven per game so far this season.

Share The Ball: The Bulldogs failed to make the extra pass enough against UConn. More side-to-side ball movement against Rutgers could lead to easier scoring opportunities.

Hit The Threes: Through two games, it's become apparent that Yale's strength is in the post. If opponents start to collapse down low, the Bulldogs will need to knock down some threes to keep the defense honest.

HISTORY LESSONS

Yale is making its first trip to the RAC since a memorable 67-65 victory over the Scarlet Knights in the 2002 NIT, the first post season tournament victory in school history. The teams are playing for the eighth time overall. Rutgers won the first meeting, 33-31 in 1918, and Yale has won the last six. Prior to 2002, the teams hadn't played since a 70-40 Yale victory in 1950.

SCOUTING RUTGERS

Rutgers (1-1) is coming off a 79-76 defeat at Alabama-Birmingham on Monday night. Junior guard Myles Mack scored 12 points and dished-out nine assists, but the Scarlet Knights could not overcome a rebounding deficit that saw the Blazers establish a 26-10 advantage in second chance points. Mack's helper total was most since Marquis Webb had 11 on Jan. 24, 2005 against Syracuse. Senior J.J. Moore scored 12 points, redshirt junior Kadeem Jack added 11 points and redshirt senior Wally Judge (Washington, D.C.) had 11 points and eight rebounds. RU committed just three turnovers, its least amount of miscues since turning the ball over three times against Pittsburgh on Jan. 8, 2005. Jack was named the American Athletic Conference's inaugural Player of the Week on Monday. Versus Florida A&M in the season opener, he shot 12-of-18 to score a career-high 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds (eight offensive) to help Rutgers to a 92-84 win at the RAC.

HOMETOWN BOY

Justin Sears is a native of Plainfield, N.J., which is about 10 miles from Piscataway. One of his first basketball experiences was attending a Rutgers game when he was in middle school, although he says he wasn't a big Rutgers fan growing up. Sears, though, does have some fond memories of the RAC. His Plainfield High School team won state championships in the arena in both his junior and senior seasons. Sears played against Rutgers' Myles Mack a number of times. Mack attended St. Anthony's in Jersey City.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity

 

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