Big Green falls prey to Eagles in 31-point loss

by Jonathan Gault | 11/15/09 11:00pm

The Dartmouth men's basketball team opened regular-season play on Friday, falling 89-58 to Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The game marked the first time since 2005 that the Big Green (0-1, 0-0 Ivy) suited up without 2009 Ivy League Player of the Year Alex Barnett '09, who graduated in the spring.

Jabari Trotter '12 led all Dartmouth scorers in the game with 10 points. The point guard averaged 7.0 points per game last season and is Dartmouth's top returning scorer. Marlon Sanders '09 and David Rufful '12 led the team in rebounds with three apiece, while Rufful also led all players with four steals.

The Eagles' (1-0, 0-0 ACC) lone senior, forward Tyler Roche, led all scorers with a career-high 30 points. Roche was 10-12 from the floor, easily topping his previous high of 17 points. Roche also shot 4-5 from three-point range and blocked five shots.

"Once he got into his rhythm it was pretty hard to get to him," Dartmouth head coach Terry Dunn said of Roche.

Sophomore guard Reggie Jackson had 16 points on 5-7 shooting for the Eagles, while junior guard Biko Paris notched seven assists. Junior forward Joe Trapani also tallied 11 points, and sophomore guard Dallas Elmore scored 10 points and blocked three shots.

The Big Green kept things close early, and after 10 minutes the score was 18-14 in Boston's favor. The Eagles, however, then put together a 22-5 run towards the end of the first half, including two three-point shots from Roche. At the intermission, Dartmouth trailed 45-23.

"We didn't get any stops," Dunn said. "They made a run. That hurt us in terms of getting back into the flow of the game."

Although Dartmouth shot 5-5 from the field to open the second half, the team gave up a 14-0 run midway through the half that sealed the game for the Eagles. By the end of the streak, Boston held a 30-point lead and coasted for the remaining 7:34.

The Big Green was out-rebounded 38-22, but the team did commit fewer turnovers than the Eagles, surrendering 17 to Boston's 19.

"We cannot give away possessions to a team of Boston College's caliber," Dunn said in a release.

Boston held a sizeable advantage in field goal percentage, shooting 60 percent as a team while holding Dartmouth to just 38.6 percent. The Big Green made 68.4 percent of its shots from the free throw line, going 13-19 on the day. The Eagles got to the line more frequently and hit their shots at a slightly higher rate, shooting 23-32 for 71.9 percent.

"Foul trouble hurt us early in the game, and it was an uphill battle from there," Dunn said in a release.

Dartmouth committed 26 personal fouls overall. Kirk Crecco '12, Robby Pride '10 and Matt LaBove '13 played just a combined 25 minutes, but in that time committed nine fouls.

Three-point shooting also plagued the Big Green. Dartmouth was 1-10 from beyond the arc, with Riddle connecting early in the second half on the only successful attempt.

Fourteen players saw action for the Big Green, including debuts by LaBove, R.J. Griffin '13, Garrett Brown '13 and Mbiyimoh Ghogomu '13. Trotter led all Dartmouth players in minutes, with 31, while Roche was on the floor for 38 minutes while tallying his career high for the Eagles.

Boston was shorthanded on Friday, as three players juniors Courtney Dunn, Corey Rajj and Rakim Sanders were out of action, having been suspended for the season opener for a violation of team rules.

The Eagles improved to 19-8 all-time against Dartmouth, and now have won their last four meetings.

Dartmouth finished fourth in the Ancient Eight last season, while Boston finished fifth in the ACC and ended its season with a 69-55 loss to the University of Southern California in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Dartmouth also dropped its second game on the weekend, falling to George Mason on Sunday afternoon in Fairfax, Va., 60-44.

The Big Green kept things close in the first half, and trailed 32-30, with 13:43 to play in the game, but could not finish down the stretch.

Rufful led the way for Dartmouth, scoring 11 points and shooting 3-4 from three-point range. Dartmouth had trouble stopping the Patriots duo of Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison, however, who both tallied double-doubles.

Pearson poured in 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Morrison scored 11 points and grabbed 10 boards.

Dunn said he thought that Dartmouth played defense well, but that, in order to win, the team needed to shoot free throws better and get more defensive stops.

The Big Green shot just 6-17 from the free-throw line.

"There was a period of about three or four minutes where we turned the ball over," Dunn said. "We had three consecutive turnovers that were all converted to baskets. Instead of it being a tie game or being ahead, we're down a couple buckets."

The Big Green's next opponent is Furman University, Dartmouth will face off against the Paladins at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Greenville, S.C.

The team will return to Hanover for its home opener on Nov. 24 against Loyola University in Maryland. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Leede Arena.

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