Takeaways from Yale's loss to Quinnipiac

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.

Read moreTakeaways from Yale's loss to Quinnipiac

Yale vs. Quinnipiac: Previewing the Grudge Match

Author Richard Kent, whose basketball work includes Big East Confidential and Lady Vols and UConn: The Greatest Rivalry, previews Yale’s season-opening Connecticut 6 Classic matchup with Quinnipiac, who the Bulldogs eliminated in last year’s CIT. 

There is a changing of the guard in the Ivies and nowhere is that more obvious than in New Haven. Yale has been picked by many to finish second only to Harvard by many preseason magazines. Over Princeton and Penn no less.

 James Jones, the dean of the Ivy coaches, is not surprised. He is a confident guy to begin with, also noting that “top to bottom [this is] the best the league has been in my tenure.” That says a lot, considering Jones has helmed the Bulldogs since 1999.
Yale is coming off a loss in the finals of the CIT at Murray State. The Elis won 19 games in 2013-14 and if they take a page from Mercer, the CIT winner the year before, Yale could see NCAA action in March.

Read moreYale vs. Quinnipiac: Previewing the Grudge Match

Yale Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition

Optimism abounds in New Haven as the Yale Bulldogs return most major pieces from a team that advanced all the way to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) final last March. Let there be no mistake: led by Ivy League Player of the Year favorite Justin Sears, the 2014-15 Bulldogs have their best shot at an Ivy League title in the last decade. Despite the media’s unanimous crowning of the Bulldogs’ arch-nemesis up in Cambridge, Yale was voted second in the preseason poll and already proved last year that it can hang with the big boys in Lavietes, notching a dominant, league-rattling 74-67 victory over the Crimson in the midst of a seven-game winning streak that brought dreams of March glory to southern Connecticut. Coach James Jones has done a remarkable job of keeping Yale competitive consistently during every season he’s had at the helm, but he’s still looking for that elusive NCAA berth to hang his hat on. If it’s going to happen, it will probably be this year with his hard-working point guard Javier Duren in his senior season and the team building off the momentum of last year’s thrilling postseason run. After exploding in 2013-14, Justin Sears will get a lot of defensive attention this year, so it remains to be seen if the rest of the squad will be able to take advantage of their opportunities.

Read moreYale Roster Preview – 2014-15 Edition

Interview with Yale’s James Jones

Yale's James Jones has led the Bulldogs to 15 consecutive top-half Ivy finishes. This past season's 9-5 team will return most of the rotation and may be Harvard's biggest competition once again.
Yale’s James Jones has led the Bulldogs to 14 consecutive top-half Ivy finishes. This past season’s 9-5 team will return most of the rotation and may be Harvard’s biggest competition once again. (Photo credit: yalebulldogs.com)

Friend of IHO and author Richard Kent– whose basketball work includes Big East Confidential and Lady Vols and UConn: The Greatest Rivalry— sat down this week with Yale head coach James Jones to chat about next season for the Bulldogs. Some of the highlights from their conversation are below.

Richard Kent: The Ivy will be tough next year. Can you envision two NCAA bids?

James Jones: That will be tough, but could happen if two teams tie and have a playoff. We will certainly have some strong teams who will be in the postseason.

RK: Any defections or losses from this year’s team next season?

JJ: Well, Brandon Sherrod is taking a year off to sing and travel with the Whiffenpoofs. He will be back after that.

Read moreInterview with Yale’s James Jones

Yale’s Season Ends with a Hard-Fought Defeat in CIT Finals

Murray State 65, Yale 57. Without Justin Sears, the Bulldogs battled hard, dominating the boards as usual. But cold shooting was too much to make up for as the Racers claimed the CIT title at home.
Murray State 65, Yale 57. Without Justin Sears, the Bulldogs battled hard, dominating the boards as usual. But cold shooting was too much to make up for as the Racers claimed the CIT title at home.

Yale put forth a valiant effort with high-usage star forward Justin Sears sidelined with a hand injury, but the Bulldogs were unable to create enough offense to keep up with the Murray State Racers, falling 65-57 on the road in the CIT championship.

Read moreYale’s Season Ends with a Hard-Fought Defeat in CIT Finals

Behind Physicality and Poise, Yale Advances to CIT Championship

Yale 75, VMI 62. The Bulldogs lost Justin Sears to a scary injury in the second half, but managed to hold on to advance to the CIT Final.
Yale 75, VMI 62. The Bulldogs lost Justin Sears to a scary injury in the second half, but managed to hold on to advance to the CIT Final.

The way this postseason has gone, the Yale Bulldogs probably wish they could play into the month of May. After winning the program’s first ever game in April on Tuesday, the Elis will play for a postseason trophy on Thursday at Murray State in the championship of the CIT.

Javier Duren was masterful again, taking the reins for the Bulldogs in the game’s nervous final minutes. With Justin Sears back in the locker room nursing a right hand injury suffered during a violent mid-air collision, the depth of the Bulldogs paid off again, as the poised squad held on despite the full-court pressure of the Keydets and the noise of their supporters.

Read moreBehind Physicality and Poise, Yale Advances to CIT Championship

Yale Tops Columbia in Thriller, Moves on to CIT Semis

Yale 72, Columbia 69, Final. Javier Duren was the best player on the court on Wednesday night, putting forth a breathtaking second half performance to lead the Bulldogs into the CIT Final Four.
Yale 72, Columbia 69, Final. Javier Duren was the best player on the court on Wednesday night, putting forth a breathtaking second half performance to lead the Bulldogs into the CIT Final Four.

There was a great game played on the campus of Columbia on Wednesday night. Two great teams playing their best basketball in late March faced off in front of a raucous crowd of passionate fans. It was a banner night for the League and it meant little to anyone in Levien Gymnasium that the tournament was one of little prestige.

Columbia and Yale played their hearts out with the Bulldogs ultimately emerging victorious thanks to one of the Ivy’s most impressive individual performances of the season. Javier Duren, after halftime, took his game to a new level, setting new career highs (vs. D-I opponents) in points (33) and rebounds (9). Duren was everywhere, slashing through the lane and getting to the rim against Columbia’s staunch defense, nabbing rebounds, and controlling the game for the Elis. This kind of transcendental performance was the only way Yale was going to pull this game out as the Lions, spurred on by an incredible showing from the Columbia faithful, would not go quietly into the Morningside night as they attempted to extend this historic season.

Read moreYale Tops Columbia in Thriller, Moves on to CIT Semis

Yale, Columbia Advance in CIT, Meet Wednesday at Levien

After Saturday night victories, Yale and Columbia will meet in New York on Wednesday for the right to advance to the 2014 CIT Final Four.
After Saturday night victories, Yale and Columbia will meet in New York on Wednesday for the right to advance to the 2014 CIT Final Four.

Columbia: The Lions” historic season continues after a 14-0 second half run turned a 51-45 deficit into a 59-51 lead. Yielding only five points to Eastern Michigan in the game”s final nine minutes, Columbia finally figured out how to stop the Eagles” main weapon, Raven Lee (26 pts). Lee went 1-8 down the stretch as the Lions took the lead for good.

Alex Rosenberg finished with 15 points and 7 assists, while Cory Osetkowski went for 10 timely points and 7 rebounds. In the backcourt, Maodo Lo scored 15 points, while Steve Frankoski added 11 off the bench, nailing three treys.

The Lions move on to face a familiar foe, the Yale Bulldogs, in the CIT Quarterfinals on Wednesday night at Levien.

Read moreYale, Columbia Advance in CIT, Meet Wednesday at Levien

Take it to the Bank: Bulldogs Dance on

Another night, another postseason Ivy buzzer beater.
Another night, another postseason Ivy buzzer beater. This time, it was Yale edging crosstown rival Quinnipiac behind Justin Sears’ last second heroics.

All season, Yale has relied heavily on IHO Player of the Year Justin Sears. So it only made sense that with the season on the line, down two points to Quinnipiac with the game clock winding perilously low, the Bulldogs would find Sears– even if it wasn’t in his natural zone of dominance in the paint.

Instead, Sears caught the ball out on the wing, took a few dribbles, stepped back, and let fly on his 10th three-point attempt of the season (for reference sake, he’s taken 307 two-pointers). The ball hit glass, then net as the Yale crowd erupted in astonished euphoria, while Quinnipiac supporters that had made the trip down from Hamden stood slack-jawed. Yale 69, Quinnipiac 68. The referees reset the clock to :00.7, but the Bobcats’ full-court heave was picked out of the air by (who else?) Justin Sears and the Elis moved on to the second round of the CIT.

Read moreTake it to the Bank: Bulldogs Dance on

IHO End of Season Awards

With the final Ivy weekend in the books, it's time to name the winners of the 2014 IHO Awards.
With the final Ivy weekend in the books, it’s time to name the winners of the 2014 IHO Awards.

After tallying up the ballots of six IHO writers, I am happy to unveil the 3rd Annual IvyHoopsOnline.com End of Season Awards.

IHO Player of the Year: Justin Sears, Yale

No player in the Ivy this year was more critical to his team’s success than Justin Sears. The Bulldogs’ sophomore star was one of the highest usage players in the league, and never shied away from putting Yale on his back. Sears ended up tying for the league scoring title, averaging 19.5 ppg during the 14-Game Tournament. The Eli forward also led the conference in rebounding with 7.9 boards per Ivy contest. On the defensive end, he was second in the league in blocks with 2.0 per game. A physical beast, Sears got to the line more than anyone in the Ancient Eight, save for Alex Rosenberg, fighting his way to the stripe for nearly 10 FT attempts per Ivy game. He connected on 76% of those, improving upon one of the few weaknesses in his freshman campaign.

He managed to score in double-figures in 13 of 14 Ivy games and put together four double-doubles, guiding Yale to a 2nd place finish. Even once it became clear that teams were focused on stopping him, Sears continued to score efficiently, finishing the season with 25 points per game in his last four contests on 34-53 FG (64%).

Also Considered: Alex Rosenberg, TJ Bray

Read moreIHO End of Season Awards