Men’s basketball drops two during weekend homestand
By Lilly Maguire, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Monday, February 18, 2013
The Dartmouth men’s basketball team suffered a tough loss to Ivy League powerhouse Princeton University 73-55 on Friday night at Leede Arena, and while it seemed that Dartmouth would put the University of Pennsylvania in its place on Saturday, the Big Green struggled to overtake the Quakers at home.
The Tigers (12-9, 5-2 Ivy) trampled the Big Green on Friday night, grabbing 14 more rebounds and 18 more points by the end of the game. Princeton’s size advantage came into play, with the Tigers scoring 36 points in the paint alone.
“They gave us a challenge,” Alex Mitola ’16 said. “They are one of the better teams in the Ivy League.”
The Big Green (6-16, 2-6 Ivy) managed to hold its own in the first 10 minutes of the game, keeping up with Princeton shot-for-shot. Princeton jumped ahead to an early five point lead, but Kevin Crescenzi ’16 and Malik Gill ’16 retaliated with three-pointers to tie the score at 19 with 10:54 left on the clock. Dartmouth did not hold on for long, however, when Princeton sophomore forward Denton Koon began a 15-3 spurt for the Tigers with another triple.
The Big Green was able to cut the deficit to six with the help of a three-pointer from John Golden ’15 and a three-point play from Gabas Maldunas ’15, but Princeton recorded the final eight points of the half to go into the locker room 14 points ahead at 42-28. Princeton‘s tall defense was tough on Dartmouth’s relatively smaller squad who shot 40.7 percent, while Princeton recorded 60 percent in the first half.
“Their team was tough for us because they were big and they have a lot of upperclassmen,” Golden said. “We had some trouble early figuring things out.”
Although Dartmouth managed to chip away at the Princeton lead during the second half, the Tigers ran the show and managed up to a 20-point lead several times. A glimmer of hope came when Golden hit another three-pointer with 1:45 left in the game and Brandon McDonnell ’16 converted a steal by Gill into a lefty layup on a fast break almost 30 seconds later, but Princeton was quick to respond with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes.
“We’ve got to continue to get better at playing hard 100 percent of the time,” co-captain Jvonte Brooks ’15 said. “We have to close out teams after we get up on them.”
The Big Green’s 8-1 spurt in the final minutes of the game was not enough to come close to the Tigers, who finished ahead 73-55.
The next game in Leede Arena was similarly disappointing. What had been a 30-18 lead for the Big Green at half time against the Quakers (6-18, 3-4 Ivy) turned into a unsatisfactory second half, with Penn outscoring the Big Green by 22 points.
“We just let them back into the game,” Brooks said.
Dartmouth came out confident in the first half against Penn and scored the first eight game points, finishing with a huge slam dunk by Golden. Mitola extended the lead with a three-pointer and again minutes later with a high shot off the glass. The Big Green was on top of its shooting game in the opening half, recording 41.4 percent compared to Penn’s 35 percent.
“Princeton’s style is much more methodical, they pick you apart,” Mitola said. “We had a different game plan because Penn is a pressure-oriented team and offensively they non-stop attack you.”
Penn snuck in two quick layups to make it a 17-10 game and kept the game scoreless for three minutes until Maldunas finally broke the ice with a layup and Mitola hit another triple to give the Big Green its largest lead of the night, 24-10, with 6:15 left in the half. Dartmouth enjoyed a 14-point lead again when Maldunas laid another one in for the team’s final points of the opening half, bringing the score to 30-16. Penn got two free throws to close the period behind by 12 points.
“In the first half we played really good defense and we got the ball out a lot,” Golden said. “We got some easy buckets and we shot the ball fairly well.”
The Quakers seemed determined to take the game into its own hands in the second half, starting off with a 9-point run in which the Big Green managed to attempt just one shot. Maldunas ended Penn’s four-minute streak with a free throw and Mitola added two more free throws with just under 10 minutes to play, but Penn had done enough damage to cut Dartmouth’s lead to a mere five points.
“Second half we started standing around a little bit on offense,” Golden said. “And we didn’t play as much defense.”
A few minutes later Penn managed to get Dartmouth’s lead down to one when Connor Boehm ’16 came through with a three-point play to put the Big Green back ahead 38-35. Quaker freshman guard Tony Hicks hit the first Penn three-pointer of the night with eight minutes to go, only to have Golden respond with another three from the right wing to keep the lead at 46-42.
In the last minutes of the game, Penn’s offense was relentless and Dartmouth could not respond quickly enough. When Penn freshman forward Greg Louis scored on a putback with five minutes to go, Boehm countered with a layup, but it was not enough to stop a massive seven-point Quaker run that would leave the Big Green only as close as five points away the rest of the game.
“They took their intensity up a level and we kind of struggled,” Mitola said. “We weren’t really hitting our stops as well, we didn’t do what we need to do on the defensive end.”
Next weekend Dartmouth will travel, playing Yale University on Friday and Brown University on Saturday.