Winning Streak Reaches Five As Bulldogs Knock Off Penn 69-54
Yale Remains Tied With Harvard Atop Ivy Standings
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale stuck with its winning formula Friday against Penn. The Bulldogs held the Quakers to 39.6 percent from the field, dominated the boards and pounded the ball inside en route to a 69-54 victory at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.
Yale (12-9, 6-1 Ivy) has won five straight games, all in Ivy play. It's the longest league winning streak since 2006-07 for the Bulldogs, who remain in a first-place tie with Harvard. The Crimson needed double overtime to win 88-84 at Columbia.
Justin Sears had 25 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and three steals to pace Yale. Armani Cotton added 17 points and 11 rebounds and Javier Duren contributed 11 points. Brandon Sherrod scored six points off the bench, and Nick Victor had four points, seven rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes.
During the five-game winning streak, the Bulldogs have held their opponents to 37.2 percent from the field and have a +11.6 rebounding margin.
"We've really put our stock in defense and rebounding," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.
Yale also has gotten to the foul line consistently. In the last five games, the Bulldogs have attempted 170 (34 per game) free throws. They were 30-of-45 from the line in the victory over the Quakers.
Yale led 25-22 at halftime but opened the second half with a 12-2 run to seize control.
The lead grew to 17 before the Quakers rallied. Two Tony Hicks free throws with 4:44 left pulled Penn within 51-45, but the Bulldogs scored the next seven points and weren't challenged the rest of the way.
Hicks, Penn's leading scorer, finished with 19 points but was just 5-of-15 from the field. Yale also contained Fran Dougherty, who was 5-of-11 and scored 10 points, nearly three less than his average.
Yale's defense helped force 20 Penn turnovers.
"We played with great defensive intensity," said Cotton, who posted his second straight double-double. "We've really adopted [a defensive mentality] and it's gotten contagious."
The Bulldogs needed their defense as they struggled from the field, particularly in the first half when they shot just 31 percent (9-of-29).
Still, Yale remained persistent in forcing the ball inside and Sears was the beneficiary as 16 of his points came in the second half.
"That's who we are," Jones said. "We want to get the ball to Justin, Matt [Townsend] and Brandon. They've all had their time to be effective."
At 6-1 in Ivy play, the Bulldogs are off their best league start since the 2006-07 season.
NOTES: The last time Yale started 7-1 in Ivy play was the magical 2001-02 season when the Bulldogs shared the Ivy title with Penn and Princeton. Several of the players from that team were in attendance on Friday as part of the Alumni Weekend festivities… The Bulldogs will try to match that start when they host Princeton on Saturday. The tip is slated for 6 p.m… Yale grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, which led to 16 second-chance points, in Friday's win… Sears led the way with five offensive boards, while Sherrod had four.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity