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Buzzer Beater: Sears’s Putback Lifts Yale Over Bryant 64-62

Justin Sears. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Justin Sears. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Battle Of Bulldogs Goes To Yale

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – In his short time at Yale, freshman Justin Sears has already established himself as one of the top offensive rebounders in the Ivy League. His performance Wednesday at Bryant will only add to that reputation. Sears's putback of a Michael Grace miss as time expired lifted the Bulldogs to a thrilling 64-62 victory over Bryant at the Chace Center.

"I saw Mike go to the basket, and I know a lot of games are won on offensive boards, so I went up and tried to put it back before the buzzer went off," Sears said.

The game-winning basket capped a big night for Sears, who finished with a career-high 20 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end.

Sears had plenty of support. Jeremiah Kreisberg added 14 points, and Grace, Javier Duren and Austin Morgan each scored six.

"This was a great team win," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball at Yale. "Everyone contributed. Justin Sears had a great game and Jeremiah really stepped up for us."

Kreisberg's performance was particularly encouraging. After starting all 29 games last year, he had offseason back surgery which has limited him early in the season. He finished 6-of-8 from the field in a season-high 22 minutes.

The Bulldogs (3-6) had a 60-51 lead with seven minutes left before Bryant rallied. Frankie Dobbs's layup tied the score at 62 with 2:19 left. Joe O'Shea had a chance to give Bryant the lead, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one with eight seconds left.

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Bryant (4-3). One of the wins came over Boston College.

Dyami Starks paced Bryant with 22 points, while Alex Francis added 19.

Yale shot 46.7 percent from the field in the game and committed a season-low eight turnovers.

The Bulldogs trailed by as many as seven points in the first half but outscored Bryant 10-5 over the final six minutes to go into the locker room down 32-30.

NOTES: Yale's bench outscored Bryant's 26-9… The Bulldogs forced 15 Bryant turnovers, which led to 16 points… There were nine ties and seven lead changes in the game… Matt Townsend had a career-high four assists for the Bulldogs… Grace had a career-high four steals… The game was a homecoming for Sam Martin, a West Warwick, R.I., native. His mother is a Bryant graduate… Yale has now won four straight over Bryant… The Bulldogs are back in action on Saturday when they play at New Hampshire. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.

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Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity