Dartmouth shocks Harvard 73-56 in Saturday's rematch

by Kevin Liao | 1/14/08 9:44am

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In a rematch of a Jan. 5 match-up in Cambridge, MA, Dartmouth faced Harvard at home and played to a very different outcome. The Big Green avenged its 86-52 loss with a 73-56 win in Leede Arena on Friday.
by Teresa Lattanzio / The Dartmouth

Led by a combined 38 points from Alex Barnett '09 (21 points) and DeVon Mosley '09 (17 points), the Big Green came out for the contest with intensity and avenged a loss that had hit the team particularly hard.

"The team had a lot of energy because we really wanted to win," Barnett said. "After the loss last Saturday, everybody took that to heart so all we could think about was beating Harvard."

Dartmouth started the game hot and never cooled off. After two quick turnovers by Harvard and a strong first defensive stand for the Big Green, Dartmouth raced out to a 9-2 lead, setting the tone for the rest of the night. With accurate three-point shooting, bolstered by well-executed screens and strong offensive rebounding, the Big Green found its rhythm early on.

Assistant coach Dean Christian was pleased with the team's quick start and sustained intensity.

"We had a tough time on the road the last couple of weeks," Christian said. "So it was good getting back and producing one of our best performances this season in front of a fantastic home crowd...We certainly didn't wait for Harvard to throw the first punch this time."

After Harvard briefly caught up at 9-9, Dartmouth led for the rest of the game. The Big Green's dominant first half was pivotal in the commanding victory. Dartmouth converted 57 percent of its first-half shots for a 36-26 lead at halftime.

After halftime, Harvard never got closer than three points. For every Crimson rally, Dartmouth seemed to have an answer.

"Our success on offense propelled our overall play," Mosley said. "Losing as horribly as we did last week also fueled our passion to win."

In the second half, the Big Green led by as many as 15 points and but several quick spurts by Crimson sophomore standout Jeremy Lin kept the game within Harvard's reach.

At one stretch in the second half, Lin scored seven straight points to bring the Crimson within six points with 14:40 remaining, but Dartmouth rallied with the next five points to extend the lead back to double-digits.

Harvard threatened again with 10:35 left in the game, but Michael Giovacchini '08 halted any hopes of a comeback, hitting a three-point dagger from the corner, and the Big Green took a 57-47 lead with only eight minutes left to play.

The Crimson would not get closer than nine points after the eight-minute mark, and had only one field goal in the last 11 minutes. Evidently playing with a sense of urgency, Harvard began forcing the issue and became careless, leading to loose balls and turnovers that created transition points for Dartmouth.

The Big Green's stifling defense held Harvard to its worst shooting performance of the season at 34.6 percent. Harvard found very few chinks in the Big Green's armor, often using the entire 35-second shot clock only to toss up long three pointers that missed the mark.

The Big Green capitalized on these opportunities, turning these misfires into transition points. Barnett and Mosley helped ignite the team's fast-break offense, highlighted by a monstrous dunk in the first half, set up by a full-court pass from Johnathan Ball '08 after a rebound. Ball led the team with 10 rebounds, allowing few second chance points for Harvard.

"We made them work for most of the baskets that they got and limited their transition game, which hurt us [in last week's game]," Giovacchini said. "Our [post players] did a really good job on the boards and also in battling their post players for early position."

Giovacchini was encouraged by the overall team effort.

"Everyone came in and did their job, and we got a lot of production out of our big men," he said. "Everyone played quality minutes and did what they had to do in order to help us win. We really played well as a team tonight on both ends of the floor."

In ways that cannot be measured by box scores, Saturday's game featured a Dartmouth team that has not been seen in recent contests. The Big Green played as if every possession was of utmost importance, as players dived for every loose ball, frustrating the Crimson with an unmatched level of effort.

Dartmouth must now hit the road after its success at home. The Big Green will be back in action when they face in-state rival the University of New Hampshire on Monday, Jan. 14.

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