Sears had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Cotton had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (19-7, 8-1 Ivy League). Duren had 13 points and four assists.
Yale, tied for the league lead with Harvard, matched last season's 8-1 start and can match the best start in school history with a win over Columbia on Saturday. The Bulldogs were 9-1 in 2001-02, also the last time they won 20 games.
Yale, which led 25-18 at the half, outrebounded Cornell 46-26, with 16 coming on the offensive end.
The Bulldogs kept the lead around 15 points most of the second half but made just 13 of 23 free throws after the break.