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Duren’s Buzzer Beater Lifts Yale Over Lafayette

Javier Duren (
Javier Duren (

Yale Shoots Lights Out From Three-Point Range

EASTON, Pa. – It turned into a memorable night for Yale's Javier Duren. Duren's three-pointer as time expired lifted the Bulldogs to a thrilling 79-76 victory over Lafayette before a stunned crowd of 1,154 at the Kirby Sports Center.

After Joey Ptasinski's jumper tied it with 3.5 seconds left, Yale inbounded the ball to Duren. He raced up court, pulled up from 30 feet and sank the jumper. Replay confirmed the basket beat the buzzer.

"I just tried to see where [the defense] was and push it as fast as I could," said Duren, whose last game-winning shot came in high school.

Duren had missed two free throws with 20 seconds left and Yale ahead by three.

"You are forced to forget about it," he said. "I just tried to think, how can I make up for it."

Duren was the first option on the play, according to James Jones, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.

"He was the guy we wanted to get the ball," Jones said. "He's a playmaker. Preferably we wanted to get to the rim, maybe draw contact, but there was only 3.5 seconds left.  Javy saw an opening and nailed the shot."

Armani Cotton scored 18 points and Justin Sears added 16 to pace the Bulldogs. Duren finished with 14 points. He was 4-of-6 from three-point range. Brandon Sherrod contributed 13 points, and Nick Victor scored seven.

Yale (3-3) shot 52.7 percent from the field and was even better (9-of-14, 64.3 percent) from three-point range.

The Leopards (0-5) were almost as good. Lafayette shot 50.9 percent from the field but was just 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) from beyond the arc.

Yale led 39-38 at halftime and scored the first nine points of the second half. Lafayette, though, answered with an 11-0 run to take a 49-48 lead.

The Bulldogs regained the lead with help from their bench. Anthony Dallier contributed a layup and Jesse Pritchard hit a three-pointer as Yale built the advantage back to 10, 68-58, with 5:37 left.

"[The bench] really gave us a boost," Jones said.

Lafayette refused to go away, using an 11-2 run to get right back in the game. Sears' first career three-pointer and two free throws later from Cotton with 25 seconds left seemed to seal it as Yale had a 75-69 lead.

Seth Hinrich, though, made a driving layup, and after Duren missed two free throws, Hinrich made two to get the Leopards within one with 11 seconds left.

Cotton was fouled immediately on the ensuing inbounds play but made only one of the two free throws.

Ptasinski then tied it with his jumper, setting up the dramatic finish.

Hinrich scored 28 points to pace Lafayette (0-5).

"Lafayette is the best 0-5 team in the country," Jones said. "They've lost a lot of close games. We are very fortunate to get out of here with a victory."

The Bulldogs are off until Saturday when they play at Hartford. Tip off is slated for 4 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity