Sears tallied 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Bulldogs (16-13), while Javier Duren led Yale with 17 points. Matt Townsend chipped in 12 points and four rebounds in the win. The Bulldogs will advance to the second round where they will face an opponent yet to be determined.
Evan Conti netted 17 points to pace Quinnipiac (20-12), while Ousmane Drame notched a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Shaq Shannon contributed 12 points of his own, and Kasim Chandler added 11 points off the bench in the loss.
Yale connected on 45.5 percent of its field goal attempts in the first half, despite going just 2-of-12 from 3-point range. Quinnipiac hit 41.9 percent of its shots from the floor in the frame, and the teams went into the intermission knotted at 32 points apiece.
The Bobcats dropped their shooting percentage down to 39.3 in the second half, but hit 12-of-14 from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs connected on 35.3 percent of their attempts in the period, hitting 8-of-12 from deep, and trailed until Sears hit his game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.
Yale had a distinct edge in bench scoring over Quinnipiac, 20-11, and outscored the Bobcats from 3-point range, 30-18. Quinnipiac outscored the Bulldogs from the free-throw line, 14-5.