Basketball travels far for Shootout

by Casey Dennis | 11/27/11 11:00pm

by Yomalis Rosario and Yomalis Rosario / The Dartmouth

Rufful said traveling to the Alaska Shootout was a "great experience."

"There are over 200 Dartmouth alums in the state of Alaska and we were welcomed into some of their homes for Thanksgiving dinner," Rufful said. "We also had some time in our schedule to go on the bus and tour Anchorage and beyond."

The Big Green fell just short of beating the University of San Francisco on Thursday, despite a late comeback attempt.

Dartmouth trailed the Dons (5-3) by just seven points going into the game's final minute. The Big Green then nailed three consecutive three-pointers to close within one point of the opposition, but was unable to pull out the win.

Rufful scored a career-high 19 points for the Big Green, converting five of the team's season-high 10 three pointers. R.J. Griffin '13 added 17 points for his third double-digit scoring game this season. Gabas Maldunas '15, who was named the Ivy League's co-Rookie of the Week last week, tallied 14 points.

The Big Green defense shut down the University of Alaska, Anchorage to win the consolation semi-final matchup, 64-52, on Friday.

Rufful matched his career-high performance from the previous night by scoring 19 points, and tacked on an additional seven rebounds. Jvonte Brooks '15 logged his first career double-double in his first start for Dartmouth, tallying 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Big Green held the University of Alaska (1-2) to 32.8 percent shooting from the field, as the Seawolves shot just 19-of-58. Dartmouth grabbed 40 rebounds compared to the Seawolves' 23, and pulled away in the second half despite committing a season-high 22 turnovers.

Rufful said the team's veteran players stepped up their play to achieve the win.

"I think the upperclassmen have started to adjust our mental approach and really use our experience and leadership to our advantage," he said.

Rufful added that the team's strong defensive play aided his individual success on offense.

"My personal game is usually predicated on tough defense, but I also happened to find myself in the right spots offensively this week," he said.

Dartmouth suffered a 65-48 loss to Central Michigan University in its final game of the tournament. Rufful again led Dartmouth in scoring, going six-of-12 from the floor and converting two three-pointers for a total of 15 points. John Golden '15 scored a season-high 13 points for the Big Green.

Dartmouth shot just 30.8 percent overall in the matchup. Central Michigan (4-2) led the whole game, jumping out to a 32-17 advantage by halftime.

Rufful said the team took many positives from the tournament despite the letdown against Central Michigan.

"It is frustrating that we did not play as well as we hoped in our last game against Central Michigan, but I am confident the team is heading in the right direction," he said. "The Great Alaska Shootout has been a great opportunity and I believe we are returning to Hanover a much stronger basketball team."

Dartmouth began its long return trip to Hanover on Saturday night and next plays at the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Rufful said the team will continue to work on its offensive game this week.

"Our goal is to have everything clicking as we approach Ivy conference games," he said.

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