Dartmouth basketball busts Harvard’s 9-game Ivy win streak

by Ray Lu | 1/26/15 6:01pm

Men’s basketball caught fire in the second half to take down Harvard for the first time in six years.
by Annie Duncan / The Dartmouth

For the first time in six years, the Dartmouth men’s basketball team defeated Harvard University on Saturday, Jan. 24, ending Harvard’s (11-5, 1-1) nine-game win streak over Ivy League competition and Harvard’s 11-game win streak over Dartmouth. Down by 14 points with 13 minutes left to play, Dartmouth (8-8, 1-1) dominated the next 10 minutes of play, going on a 26-2 run and ultimately winning the game 70-61.

“In my four years, it was my first time beating them,” co-captain Gabas Maldunas ’15 said. “It’s my final game against Harvard, and to know that we’re better than them in our last game was really a great feeling.”

A three-pointer by Harvard senior Wesley Saunders put the Crimson up 14 with 13:09 left to play. However, in less than six minutes, the Big Green scored 14 unanswered points, tying up the game at 43.

“We just looked at each other and said, ‘We have a lot of time, let’s just take this one possession at a time,’” co-captain Alex Mitola ’16 said.

Six different players scored points to fuel the run, including Maldunas who put in the game-tying layup.

“The guys off the bench, especially Malik [Gill ’16] and Tommy [Carpenter ’16], did a great job of giving [the starters] a spark,” Maldunas said.

After Dartmouth caught fire, it managed to sustain its high level of play for the rest of the game, shooting 50 percent from the field to Harvard’s 37 percent in the second half.

With 6:39 to go in the second half, Gill was fouled driving to the basket. He managed to stay balanced and sink the layup before tacking on a free throw to convert his and-1 opportunity, giving the Big Green its first lead, 46-45, since late in the first half.

Dartmouth would not relinquish that lead for the rest of the game. Miles Wright ’18, two-for-eight from the field on the night, hit a pair of three-pointers and a free throw — his only points in the game — when it mattered, helping stretch Dartmouth’s lead to 10 with 3:21 left to play.

In closing out the game, Dartmouth maintained control of the lead and converted on its opportunities, exemplified by Mitola’s 10-for-10 performance from the line in the final minute and a half.

“We just kept putting it on them and finished strong,” Mitola said.

Mitola had a led both teams with 18 points and a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Gill matched that ratio with six dimes of his own and nine points. Gill and Mitola currently rank third and fourth in the Ivy League in assist-to-turnover ratio, with 2.5 and 2.4 respectively.

Carpenter had eight points and four steals in 14 minutes of playing time, while John Golden ’15 had nine points on four-for-eight shooting. Beyond his game-tying effort, Maldunas chipped in eight points, six boards and three steals.

Dartmouth’s success came from a collective team effort, Maldunas said, and the substitutes played a large role in helping the team regain its focus after falling behind.

Saunders and junior Siyani Chambers were the top scorers for the Crimson with 13 points each. Senior Jonah Travis chipped in nine points off the bench, including a game-high seven in the first half.

“We had to disrupt Harvard’s rhythm because they are so talented and well-coached,” coach Paul Cormier said in an interview with dartmouthsports.com.

Saturday’s game was a rematch of the Jan. 10 Ivy League opener played at Leede Arena, when the Crimson limited Dartmouth’s offense to 33 percent shooting for the game and won 57-46.

“This time in practice we focused on our offense and made sure that we really knew our plays,” Maldunas said. “We knew that we could stop them defensively. We just needed to make sure that our offense was clicking as well.”

The Big Green improved to 95-85 all-time against the Crimson, and Coach Cormier now holds a 13-14 record against Harvard.

The Big Green continues its five-game road spree this weekend with trips to the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University.