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LEXINGTON, Va. – Javier Duren scored 19 points and Yale slowed down high-flying VMI in a 75-62 victory on Tuesday night that put the Bulldogs in the championship game of the CollegInsiders.com tournament.
Justin Sears had 15 points for Yale (19-13) before leaving with a right hand injury midway through the second half. Brandon Sherrod scored 13 and Armani Cotton had 11 for the Bulldogs, who led 37-27 at the half and went up by as many as 16 in the second half.
The Bulldogs had won just one postseason game in their history before winning four straight this year.
"We're making Yale history, and I'm just blessed to be a part of it," Duren said.
The Bulldogs might have to face either Pacific or Murray State, who played later Monday night, without Sears, their No. 2 scorer. He was fouled by C.J. Covington on a dunk attempt midway through the second half. The officials watched the replay and did not assess a flagrant foul, but Covington missed his first free throw and could not continue.
Anthony Dallien replaced him at the line and also missed, leaving the Bulldogs with a 57-45 lead. Sears spent much of the half in the locker room before emerging to watch the end of the game with his hand wrapped in ice.
"My trainer thinks he either tore a ligament or broke it," coach James Jones said. "That's not good."
Rodney Glasgow scored 20 points and Covington had 17 for the Keydets (22-13), who were making their first postseason appearance since the 1976-77 season. Freshman QT Peterson managed just three points on 1-of-11 shooting.
Glasgow, Covington and Peterson came into the game averaging a combined 79.1 points in the first three postseason games, and the Keydets were averaging 103 points to Yale's 70.7. But the Bulldogs outrebounded VMI 45-27 to set the tempo and shot nearly 48 percent.
"It was going to be a game of their quickness or our size, and our size won out," Jones said.
The Keydets closed to 64-58 with 4:35 remaining, rousing the crowd of 4,784, but Yale responded with an 11-4 run.
"Every time we would get a stop, we would turn the ball over, force some shots," said Covington, who played only half the first half because of foul trouble. "We just didn't make the plays that we needed to make."
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