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Bulldogs Dominate On Offensive Glass; Knock Off Penn 68-59

Justin Sears (
Justin Sears (

Cotton Scores 15 Points To Lead Balanced Attack

PHILADELPHIA – Yale went to what it does best to earn an important Ivy League victory at Penn on Friday. The Bulldogs grabbed 21 offensive rebounds, turned them into 19 second-chance points and earned a hard-fought 68-59 win over the Quakers before 2,810 at the Palestra.

Yale leads the Ivy League in offensive rebounds, averaging 13.0 per game.

"That's who we are," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball.  "We were tenacious and that made all the difference."

One sequence in particular in the second half demonstrated that determination. The Bulldogs missed three short shots in traffic in the lane but got the ball back each time. Justin Sears corralled the last one and was fouled, which drew a big reaction from an excited Yale bench.

Yale (8-14, 2-3 Ivy) shot just 33.9 percent from the field in the game, so the performance on the offensive glass was much-needed.

"We aren't a great perimeter shooting team, so if you can't make a shot, you better be able to get offensive rebounds," Jones said. "We have to battle on the glass to be successful."

Armani Cotton scored 15 points to lead four players in double figures. Matt Townsend added 12 points and Javier Duren and Sears scored 11 each.

Five of Sears' seven rebounds came on the offensive end. Duren added eight rebounds and Cotton had six.

The score was tied at 44 midway through the second half, but Yale scored the next 10 points.

Penn, though, immediately answered with a 9-0 run, capped by Tony Hicks three-pointer that made it 54-53 with 3:58 left.

Townsend scored the Bulldogs' next four points, but Penn was still within two when Austin Morgan hit the biggest shot of the game, a three-pointer from the wing that made it 62-57 with 1:09 left. He had missed his first nine shots of the game.

Morgan, who entered the night eighth in the nation in foul shooting, was 4-of-4  in the final 38 seconds to seal the victory. He made all six of his attempts in the game and now has made 24 straight dating back to the Florida game on Jan. 6.

"Austin is one of the best foul shooters in the country," Jones said. "I expect him to make every one."

Although Morgan finished with just nine points, his presence was still a big factor.

"Teams focus a lot on Austin, so that makes it easier for the rest of us," said Sears, who is second in the Ivy League with 67 offensive rebounds. "Tonight Matt Townsend really stepped up. Armani stepped up. We have a deep bench. This was a big win for us."

Henry Brooks led Penn with 12 points. Miles Cartwright was held to six points, nearly eight below his average.

"We tried to get a hand in his face and make sure all his shots were tough," Jones said. "He is a very good player."

Yale's largest lead of the first half was five, while Penn had a six-point advantage with a little over a minute to play and led 32-29 at the intermission.

It was the Bulldogs' first victory in the historic Palestra since 2009.

NOTES: The Bulldogs finished with a 45-34 overall rebounding edge in the game… Yale was 24-of-31 from the free throw line … The Quakers were just 5-of-17 from three-point range. Sears was back in the lineup after missing both games last weekend with an ankle injury... Yale is back in action at Princeton on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Bulldogs will be looking to sweep the Penn-Princeton road trip for the first time since the1986-87 season.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity