NEW HAVEN, Conn. – There's never a good way to lose a basketball game, but sometimes it can be downright cruel. Quinnipiac saw its season come to a close on Wednesday night, when a last-second three-pointer banked off the window and through the hoop to give Yale a 69-68 victory in the opening round of the 2014 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Quinnipiac (20-12) looked as though it was on the verge of pulling away from its cross-town rival on several occasions in second half. However, Yale hung around.
Trailing 63-57 with less than five minutes to go, Yale knocked down back-to-back threes to tie the score at 63 apiece. Quinnipiac went back in front after a pair of free-throws from Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.), and then pushed the lead back to four after a jumper from Shaq Shannon (Philadelphia, Pa.). The Bobcats looked as though they could seal the victory from the line in the closing minutes.
However, Yale cut the deficit in half with two free-throws, and then pulled to within one after another free-throw from Justin Sears. That's where it got interesting.
Kasim Chandler (Newark, N.J.) was fouled with eight seconds left, and knocked down one of his two free-throw attempts. Yale carried the ball over the timeline, and found its Ivy League First Teamer on the wing with four seconds to go. Sears took one dribble, stepped behind the three-point line, and banked the game-winning shot with 0.7 seconds left. The Bobcats' last-second heave was broken up, and the Bulldogs celebrated on their home court.
The three-point line carried the Bulldogs throughout the night, and especially in the second half. Yale went 10-for-24 from long range, which included 8-of-12 in the second half. Nearly every other statistic favored the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac was led by Evan Conti (Bayside, N.Y.) who mustered a season-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He knocked down three threes and grabbed four rebounds in his season national postseason tournament game. Conti recorded a double-double in the team's trip to Penn two years ago in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Drame and Shannon each finished with 12 points. Drame had a game-high 15 rebounds, while Shannon added three rebounds and three assists in his final collegiate game. Chandler totaled 11 points, four rebounds and three assists, and Zaid Hearst (Bethesda, Md.) had eight points and four rebounds.
Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) scored eight points and hauled in 10 rebounds in the last game of his career. Quinnipiac's Division I rebounding leader goes out with 1,043 rebounds and 1,605 points. He was the 13th player ever to score 1,600 points.
Yale (16-13) was led by Javier Duren who finished with 17 points. The Bulldogs move on to the second round of the CIT, and will play this coming weekend.
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