HAMDEN, Conn. – The final stat sheet says Quinnipiac had 22 offensive rebounds Friday against Yale. There is one in particular that will nag at the Bulldogs.
Ousmane Drame grabbed Kasim Chandler's miss, scored and was fouled with 22 seconds left in the second half to tie the score at 67. Drame missed the free throw, but it was still enough to get the Bobcats to overtime. It took a second overtime, but Quinnipiac eventually escaped with an 88-85 victory before an enthusiastic crowd at the TB Bank Center in the Connecticut 6 Classic.
Quinnipiac, which led the nation in rebounding a year ago, finished with a 54-38 advantage on the boards.
Still, there were a number of positives for the Bulldogs in a terrific season opener. Javier Durenstarted his final season with a bang, finishing with 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field.Justin Sears added a double-double, scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
The Bulldogs committed only 10 turnovers.
It was the second straight memorable game between the teams. Sears banked in a three-pointer with seven-tenths of a second left to lift Yale to a 69-68 victory over the Bobcats last March in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The Bulldogs led 40-38 at halftime on Friday, but Quinnipiac opened the second half with a 13-4 run, capped by an Evan Conti three-pointer.
The Bobcats had a five-point advantage with 5:35 left, but Jack Montague scored five straight points, including a three-pointer that tied it at 63.
Two Duren free throws with 42 seconds left gave Yale a 67-65 lead, but Drame's putback forced the first overtime period.
It looked like one overtime might be all Quinnipiac would need. The Bobcats led 74-68 with 2:14 left, but the Bulldogs again rallied and tied it at 76 on Montague's three-pointer with 14 seconds left.
Quinnipiac led by as many as five in the second overtime, but Yale still had a chance in the final seconds. Trailing by three, 86-83, with 18 seconds left, Montague raced up court, used a screen and pulled up for an opener three-pointer from the top only to see the ball slip out of his hands.
Justin Harris then made two free throws with 11 seconds left to seal the victory for the Bobcats.
"We didn't lose the game in double overtime. We lost it in the first half and the second half when we didn't rebound," Duren said.
Zaid Heart paced Quinnipiac with 34 points and 11 rebounds. He was 12-of-20 from the field and also had five assists.
Montague, who made his first career start, finished with 12 points. Junior Khaliq Ghani saw the most significant minutes of his career and scored a career-high eight points.
Story courtesy of Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity