With complete effort, men's basketball comes out with win
Dartmouth started the game slowly, with Bryant (1-3) jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The Big Green called a timeout and regrouped before going back onto the court with a renewed desire to win.
"We knew that this was a game we had to win and could win," Griffin said. "We really stepped up our rebounding from that point on."
Dartmouth went on a 31-point run during the subsequent 12 minutes. Griffin began the run with two free throws and a three-point shot, and younger players stepped up as well. Gabas Maldunas '15 put Dartmouth ahead with the go-ahead basket, finishing on a perfectly threaded pass from Jvonte Brooks '15. John Golden '15 capped off the run with a two-handed slam-dunk, securing the Big Green's momentum.
Bryant scored the final five points before the half, making the score 36-26 at halftime. After relinquishing a seven-point halftime lead on Wednesday, Dartmouth focused on coming out strong and keeping up its intensity in the second half.
"Knowing how flat we came out last game, everyone was talking about how we had to play like it was 0-0," Griffin said. "We came out with the mentality that the game was tied."
During the first few minutes of the second half, it looked as though Wednesday's collapse would be repeated, as Bryant pulled within six points of Dartmouth. Back-to-back three pointers by Griffin and Jabari Trotter '12, however, quickly doubled Dartmouth's lead to 12 points. Mack McKearney '15 also got in on the action, sinking a three-pointer in response to a Bryant three-point shot on the other end.
For 12 minutes after McKearney's basket, Griffin was the only Big Green player to score, hitting four three-pointers and a long jumper to tally 14 points during the run.
"I was just thinking there was no way we were going to lose another game on our home court," Griffin said.
Bryant then pulled within five points of the Big Green with 2:45 remaining in the game. It once again looked as though Dartmouth might find itself on the wrong end of the scoreboard, as Bryant capped off an 11-1 run with a dunk by sophomore Alex Francis and a three-pointer by sophomore Corey Maynard.
The young team stayed tough, however. With less than a minute to play, captain David Rufful '12 came up with the rebound on a missed free throw by Maldunas, who was then fouled and awarded two more free shots. Maldunas converted both shots to give Dartmouth a 63-59 point lead with 22 seconds remaining.
Bryant then sped down the court but failed to score and was forced to intentionally foul. The Big Green converted on three of four free throws during the final 12 seconds of the game to lock in the victory.
"I think everyone did a great job stepping up and hitting free throws," Griffin said. "It's something we've talked about focusing on as a team."
Free throws were essential to Dartmouth's win, as it sunk 13 out of 19 attempts. Griffin went six-for-six from the charity stripe, with Maldunas converting on three of his four foul shots.
Maldunas proved he can be a big-game threat off the bench, hitting all six of his shots from the field to finish the night with 15 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, recording the first double-double of his career.
Maldunas said that Dartmouth's team is bigger than Bryant's, so the team's focus during the game was on rebounding.
"We just tried to go for every rebound," he said. "That's what I did in high school the most, so I just try to get as many as I can."
Dartmouth dominated the game on the boards, recording 34 rebounds and limiting Bryant to 25. The Big Green was especially dominant on the offensive glass, where it grabbed nine more rebounds than Bryant to give itself several second chances. Brooks secured eight rebounds on the night.
"We got killed on the boards against [the University of Vermont] last game," Griffin said. "We repeated the rebound drill [in practice] and definitely focused on that."
Dartmouth next plays at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska, where the Big Green will face the University of San Francisco in the team's first game. Dartmouth flies to Alaska on Monday and will play on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. local time.