Men’s basketball drops two more on road for four straight losses

by Ray Lu | 2/9/15 3:14pm

After suffering two defeats last weekend, the men’s basketball continued their streak of losses by falling to both Yale and Brown Universities this past weekend. Despite Miles Wright’s ’18 average of 20.5 points between the two games — 20 against Yale and 21 against Brown — the team now carries a four-game losing streak on the road.

Yale (16-7, 5-1 Ivy) had an aggressive start to the matchup, shooting 7-11 on three-pointers in the first half and racing out to a 35-21 lead by halftime. Dartmouth hung tight, keeping the game close. In the final seven minutes of the half, however, Yale went on a 15-1 run, and the Bulldogs finished the game with a strong point difference, defeating Dartmouth 81-66.

Wright had 12 points in the first half for the Big Green (8-12, 1-5 Ivy), more than the rest of the team combined. He finished the game with 20 points on 8-15 shooting, and co-captain Gabas Maldunas ’15 chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.

After falling behind by 19 early in the second half, Dartmouth rallied back for a 13-3 run to bring the deficit down to nine. Maldunas and co-captain Alex Mitola ’16 chipped in four points each during the stretch, and a Wright dunk capped the rally.

Costly fouls by the Big Green and solid free-throw shooting from Yale brought the Bulldogs’ lead back to 13 before Mitola hit his first and only three of the game. Yale answered back with a pair of triples, effectively putting the game out of reach.

The Bulldogs shot just over 51 percent for the game, including 13 threes, compared to the Big Green’s 41.4 percent. Offensive struggles plagued Dartmouth in the first half, hitting just 7-for-24 from the field. Maldunas noted that the offensive side of the game is where the Big Green needs to focus its attention.

“We feel like our effort and defense is there, and we can stop teams but it’s just all about scoring now,” he said. “A bunch of us missed some wide open shots, and it’s just our offense is not really clicking right now. I feel like it started at the [University of Pennsylvania] game, where when we were open the ball just didn’t go in. It kind of got contagious, and we haven’t really gotten able to click on offense as much as we would’ve liked.”

The Bulldogs are currently tied for first atop the Ivy League with Harvard University, who won a thrilling 52-50 match against Yale on Saturday.

The Big Green then travelled to Providence, Rhode Island to face Brown (10-13, 1-5 Ivy). Before the game, the Bears had yet to defeat an Ivy League team, losing an overtime battle 76-74 to Harvard the previous night.

The teams traded baskets throughout the first half until the Bears closed out on a 9-2 run, taking a 33-25 lead heading into the break.

Brown held onto their lead for most of the second half. A three-pointer by Connor Boehm ’16 cut the deficit to one with 34 seconds left. The Big Green intentionally fouled to prolong the game, but the Bears hit all four of their free throws. A layup by Wright in the closing seconds put the final score at 64-67.

The basket helped Wright set a new career-high with 21 points after dropping 20 just the night before. Mitola was the only other player in double-digits with 10, while Maldunas, who recorded 15 boards, and Kevin Crescenzi ’16 each scored nine.

“If it weren’t for [Wright], it would’ve been a really bad weekend,” Mitola said. “He played well in every aspect of the game. It seemed like a lot of things clicked for him this weekend, and if we can keep getting a boost from him...that would be important and big.”

The result gave Brown its first win in Ivy League play this season, and the team is now tied with Dartmouth at the bottom of the Ivy rankings. Moving forward, Mitola noted that the Big Green needs to improve their all-around play if they hope to ascend in the rankings.

“We’re 1-5 in the Ivy, which is not where we want to be, or where we hoped we would be,” he said. “We have a lot to work on...a ton of things we’re trying to improve.”

Wright echoed similar points, saying that the weekend has given the team a chance to learn what they should focus on to end the current streak of losses.

“We battled [at Yale], and we had some tough stretches where we couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” he said. “At Brown, it was the same thing. It was a close game, back and forth. They hit a couple of extra shots down the stretch that put us away. It was a tough, tough three-point loss. I think we definitely learned from the entire weekend.”

The Big Green returns to Leede Arena for a four-game home-stand. Dartmouth will play Cornell University on Friday and Columbia University on Saturday, with both games beginning at 7 p.m.