Men's basketball drops home opener to Colgate, 65-60

by Greg O'Sullivan | 11/24/08 4:44am

its home opener to Colgate University on Saturday night, 65-60. Alex Barnett '09 continued to lead the team in scoring with 22 points, his second 20-point performance in as many games, but it was not enough to take down the Raiders, who made 52.4 percent of their shots on the night.

The Big Green (0-3, 0-0 Ivy) fell for the third straight time this season, but saw closer results. The Raiders (2-0, 0-0 Patriot) came into the game on the heels of a 58-57 victory over Central Connecticut University in their season opener last Monday.

The first half of Saturday's game was a back-and-forth affair, as neither team was able to take control of the game. There were six lead changes in the first half, and neither team took more than a four-point lead until the final minute of the half.

Both teams got off to a slow start and missed a number of early chances, but eventually settled in to post solid shooting statistics on the half. Dartmouth shot 40.6 percent from the field on 13-of-32 shooting, while Colgate shot 50 percent on 11-for-22 shooting.

With just under five minutes left in the half, Barnett made a jumper to bring the Big Green to within two points of the Raiders at 22-20. Dartmouth followed with a 14-4 run to take a six-point lead into the break. David Rufful '12 scored the final basket of the first half with a 3-pointer. Rufful finished as the Big Green's second-leading scorer on the night with 10 points in 25 minutes of play.

"Rufful was a big spark for us," captain Robby Pride '10 said. "He is kind of a streaky player right now, and he showed his abilities last night in the first half. He's only a freshman and is just getting used to the college game, so I think that as the year goes on he is going to be more and more consistent, but his talent and potential are obvious."

Despite Dartmouth's first half lead, the team had trouble preventing the Raiders from finding and hitting open shots throughout the game. Dartmouth extended the lead to seven just over two minutes into the half, but Colgate then went on a 16-1 run over the next five minutes to take the lead for good.

Colgate's lead grew to 11 points with just over nine minutes remaining in the game. The Big Green fought valiantly to cut the deficit, but the Raiders offense shot even better than it had in the first half, shooting 55 percent going 11-for-20 from the field. For the game, the Red Raiders shot 52.4 percent.

"We let them off the hook in the second half," Pride said. "We let them get too many open, uncontested looks, which is why they shot such a high percentage. No team is going to win very many games by letting opponents shoot 52 percent."

Colgate stayed hot throughout the game, but Dartmouth cooled off to shoot only 34.6 percent from the field in the second half on 9-for-26 shooting.

In the last minute, the Big Green cut Colgate's lead to five points, but the Big Green was unable to come back fully and the Raiders prevailed, 65-60.

"For most of the first half and the last seven minutes of the game we attacked and played good offense," Pride said. "But there was a portion of the game where we stopped attacking and allowed Colgate to get back in the game. Also, on the defensive end, we obviously need to make our opponents take tougher shots and not give up any wide-open looks. But credit to Colgate, they did shoot very well."

Barnett led the team in scoring for the third consecutive game, and is now averaging 22.6 points per game to lead the team.

"Alex has been solid for us all year, and everyone knows he is our go-to scorer," Pride said. "He got double teamed all night, but he still was able to put up big numbers."

Guard Jabari Trotter '12 had the most difficult game of his young career, only managing six points on 2-for-7 from the field.

The Big Green has three more contests left in the Fall term. The team will take on Furman University and Lehigh University in Hanover this week and will travel to the University of Vermont on Dec. 2.