The Yale Bulldogs tipped off their season in Hamden last night, falling in a 88-85 double overtime shootout to the Quinnipiac Bobcats.
The matchup was a valuable early-season barometer for the Elis, allowing us to see which players are ready to step up and where the team will look to improve in the coming months before conference season. Let’s start with the good news:
Javier Duren came out firing. Yale’s starting point guard had 19 points at the half and finished with 26 points before fouling out in the first overtime. He calmly directed the offense all night, limiting his turnovers to just two, and shooting 50% (9-18) from the field.
Jack Montague shot the ball with confidence and filled in admirably for the injured Nick Victor who is reportedly sidelined for 3-4 weeks. Montague figures to be first off the bench once Victor returns. His clutch three-point bomb at the end of the first overtime extended the game for the Bulldogs.
Justin Sears was held in check for much of the night, but he turned it on down the stretch (as he is known to do). Yale’s main man showed no signs of trouble from the wrist that he injured in last spring’s CIT semifinal, playing 48 of the game’s 50 minutes. Sears scored 11 of his 23 points in the two overtime periods, and added 12 rebounds (nine offensive).
Khaliq Ghani, who had played 26 minutes and scored seven points in the first two years of his career, was surprisingly effective last night. He shot 2-for-3 from the field, tallying eight points, and he looked capable in his 14 minutes of court time.
And where there needs to be some improvement:
Rebounding. First off, let’s give credit where credit is due. Quinnipiac finished last year first in the nation in offensive rebounding, so we need to take last night’s demolition on the boards with a grain of salt. Still though, the Bulldogs—who were 10th in the nation in defensive rebounding last year—conceded 22 offensive rebounds and shot themselves in the foot time and time again by failing to execute basic box outs. Quinnipiac corralled 54 percent of its own misses throughout the contest—that’s inexcusable against anyone.