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The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Men's hoops fights for second place in Ivies

Second place in the Ivy League will be on the line this weekend when the Dartmouth men's basketball team hosts Columbia and Cornell to close out its 1994-95 edition.

If Dartmouth wins both games, and Princeton loses one of its next three games, the Big Green will guarantee themselves a tie for second place.

"We're pumped up, excited. It's been a great week of practice," Sea Lonergan '97 said. "It hasn't trailed off at all. We want to win out this weekend and finish off strong."

Princeton (8-3), Brown (8-4) and Dartmouth (8-4) are all in striking range of second place in the League. The University of Pennsylvania remains undefeated in conference play and, barring a miracle, will win the title.

Because Princeton plays Brown this weekend, and because both Princeton and Brown have a game remaining against Penn, a weekend sweep could very well give Dartmouth second place to itself.

Brown travels to Penn and Princeton this weekend while Princeton hosts Yale and Brown.

Princeton and Penn will face off on national television next Wednesday to close out the season.

On paper both games should be easy wins for Dartmouth. Dartmouth convincingly swept the Cornell-Columbia road trip, winning 87-72 in Ithaca on Feb. 3 and destroying Columbia 77-57 the next day.

But Dartmouth will be hampered by illness for the second straight weekend. Point-guard Kenny Mitchell '97 is still under the weather, and will see very limited playing time this weekend, according to Coach Dave Faucher.

Center Brian Gilpin is also battling the flu, causing him to miss three practices this week. Although Gilpin practiced yesterday, Faucher said his playing time will be limited.

Columbia (1-11 Ivy, 4-20 overall) should provide little challenge for the Big Green team that has won six of its last eight games.

The Lions are a young team, starting only one senior. But Dartmouth isn't taking the game lightly.

"We're working on a zone to man defense to one of Columbia's offenses that's giving people some trouble," Lonergan '97 said.

Aggressive defense could pay off against the Lions, who sometimes have a tendency to give the ball up easily. Columbia turned the ball over 28 times in an 88-48 humiliation last weekend against Penn.

The Cornell Big Red are a young, but slightly more formidable team than the Lions. History is on Cornell's side, as Dartmouth and Cornell have split their season series in eight of the last nine years.

Cornell will start an all-freshman backcourt of DeShawn Standard and Bo Buettenback.

But Cornell's leading scorer, junior guard Brandt Schuckman, will come off the bench.

Schuckman averages 3.2 three-pointers per game, good for 18th in the nation.

But he also throws up a lot of treys, and the team as a whole is not a veritable outside threat.

Penn and Princetonshut Schuckman down last weekend, holding him to eight points total.

In practice this week we have "worked on the zones," Faucher said. "Neither team is outstanding from three-point range." But, Faucher continued, fans should not expect the Big Green to abandon its man-to-man defense that has been so successful this season.

On offense, the Big Green will need to be quick with their passing to avoid Cornell's aggressive double-teaming.Faucher said the team will work Saturday on reacting quickly to the Big Red's double teams.

"We try to be ready for everything," Faucher said. "Columbia and Cornell are so different. Columbia is a little more conservative defensively."

The Big Red will probably concentrate defensively on Lonergan, who burned them for 35 points in the teams' previous matchup this season.

Lonergan was named Ivy League Player of the Week last week for the fourth time this season.

In the paint Dartmouth will battle Brian Kopf, Cornell's leading rebounder. With Gilpin out, it will be essential for the rest of the Dartmouth squad to rebound aggressively. Cornell is 6-1 this season when it outrebounds its opponent.

The team is psyched up for the weekend, as more than just second place is on the line. A sweep would give Dartmouth a 13-13 final record. The Big Green have not played .500 ball since the 1988-89 season, when they finished 17-9.

"We have had spirited practices," Faucher said. "They have smiles on their faces, I think they feel good about it, but they've been around long enough to know you're only as good as your last game."