Men's basketball team opens strong with win over Lyndon State
The men’s basketball team carried its strong play from the end of last season, when it won three of its last four games, into its new one, which kicked off on Sunday against Lyndon State College. The Big Green (1-0) topped 100 points for the eighth time in program history, dominating Lyndon State (0-1) 106-61.
“We played as a team, and everyone contributed to our success,” captain Tyler Melville ’14 said. “We played with great effort and executed well. It was exciting to see such a great team effort.”
The game started with both teams trading baskets, but the Big Green quickly took over, going on a 14-2 run in the first quarter. Forward Brandon McDonnell ’16 caught fire at the end of the stretch, scoring seven points in a row. Just eight minutes into the game the Big Green lead 18-6, and the team did not look back from there. The next seven minutes of play featured nonstop fouls by both sides, as the two teams combined for 17 free throws against just one field goal by Dartmouth forward John Golden ’15. Luckily, the Big Green proved up to the task at the foul line, converting 37 of its 44 field goals for the game.
“There were some NCAA rule changes this year, so some plays that fouls wouldn’t have been called on in the past are getting called now,” Melville said. “We have been shooting 50 free throws before and after every practice. It’s been a focus for the team.”
Before the half, the Big Green went on an 8-0 run, which started with a short Connor Boehm ’15 bucket from the lane, a play that featured good ball movement from guard Alex Mitola ’16 and forward Tommy Carpenter ’16. At the half, Dartmouth lead with 48 points to Lyndon State’s 24.
“We were able to create baskets and get runs started with the starters, and then when we changed it up,” Golden said. “We had no drop off from the subs, and they were able to keep our success going.”
Seven minutes into the second half the Big Green’s lead ballooned to 40 and, with 4:48 left to play, guard Kevin Crescenzi ’16 converted from behind the arc to give the Big Green over 100 points, and a 50-point lead.
The Big Green dominated both offense and defense throughout the game, combining for 48 rebounds to Lyndon State’s 29.
“We had the size advantage for this particular game, but going forward we need to make sure we win the rebounding battle every game.” Boehm said.
Center Gabas Maldunas ’15 and forwards Brandon McDonnell ’16 and Wesley Dickinson ’17 contributed seven rebounds each.
“Rebounding has been a major focus this year,” Golden said. “We’ve been working on that in practice, and we have a lot of taller guys and athletes. I think it’s going to help us a lot down the stretch.”
The Big Green featured an extremely balanced offense, with five players racking up double-digit point totals. Guard Malik Gill ’15 lead Dartmouth with 14 points, while Boehm and Creskenzi each scored 13. Melville added 11 and Golden contributed 10.
“Starting the season off with the win is huge for momentum,” Boehm said. “Going forward, we are trying to establish the type of attitude that no matter who we play, we won’t let somebody come into our gym and leave with a victory. Going into our game Wednesday, we need to bring that attitude in order to be successful.”
The Big Green will face a stiffer challenge on Wednesday when it hosts Bryant University at 7 p.m.