Men’s basketball upsets Georgetown, falls to Boston College in season openers

The win against Georgetown marks the first against a major conference opponent in 32 years.

by Jason Norris | 11/15/21 2:15am

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Source: Photo by Gil Talbot/Dartmouth Athletics

The men’s basketball team played its first game since March 7, 2020 on Tuesday against Boston College. After falling to the Eagles 73-57, Dartmouth regrouped and on Saturday upset 2021 Big East champion Georgetown University 69-60 in an exciting start to non-conference play.

Against the Eagles, the Big Green had to shake some rust off early after 20 months without a game. In the first half, the Big Green scored just 19 points while giving up 42, shooting just 22% from the field and 14% from behind the arc to BC’s 57.69% from the field and 54.55% from three. Fifth-year forward Aaryn Rai ’21, who posted nine rebounds and two steals, said he felt that the Big Green needed some time to get back into the swing of things.

“I think that we hadn’t played in a long time so it was just about getting our feet under us and getting back to it, so we kinda came in a little rust offensively and took some time to settle in,” Rai said. “By the second half, we were a little too far out of it to come back.”

After the first half, the Big Green was firing on all cylinders. Dartmouth scored 38 points, twice what they scored in the first half, off of 52% shooting from the field and 27% from behind the arc. However, Dartmouth was ultimately unable to come back from the 23-point first-half deficit, as BC put up 31 in the second half.

Graduate student Brendan Barry ’20, who led the team with 10 points and two assists, said he felt that BC was the tougher team that game.

“In the BC game we got out-toughed, which is unacceptable,” Barry said. “For myself, they kind of denied me and I just let them do that. That frustrated me and made me mad after the game that I allowed them to do that.”

From head coach David McLaughlin’s perspective, after such a long hiatus he felt the team did not have a true identity. Going into the Georgetown game, McLaughlin and the team discussed how they want to define Dartmouth basketball this season.

“When we’re on national TV, what are the announcers going to say? The guys know what the answer is,” McLaughlin said. “We want to be a detail-oriented and disciplined team, a team that likes to share the basketball and is very tough on the defensive end of the court.”

Against Georgetown, the Big Green started off strong, out-scoring Georgetown 37-21 in the first half. Dartmouth cashed in on 7 3-pointers in the first half and shot 47% from the field. Although Georgetown went on a 14-point run to start the second half, Barry finally put a stop to the bleeding by nailing a 3-pointer. Georgetown made another run to take the lead 50-48 with 10:56 left in the half, until senior guard Taurus Samuels ’22 drained another three to reclaim the lead. After that, the Big Green never trailed again and won 69-60. 

“I think Georgetown gave us the opportunity to define who we are, or at least take the next step in defining who we are,” McLaughlin said. “I think the guys played very confident, they made shots, and when Georgetown made their run, we answered.”

The Big Green certainly relied on shooting from behind the arc, scoring 16 total threes. Barry and Samuels led the team in 3-pointers, each sinking six. Rai noted that going into the game, the team had discussed that Georgetown relied a lot on help defense, so the Big Green’s game plan relied on getting the defense to collapse and then working the ball back outside. Coach McLaughlin thinks that will be a recipe for success throughout the season.

“You’re not just going to get threes, so what we want to do is be an inside-out team,” McLaughlin said. “We aren’t afraid to share the basketball, we want to share the ball quickly, and we want to work inside-out. Whenever we had a three it was off a cut or a rebound, and whenever we play inside-out that’s how we’re going to get great shots.”

Against Georgetown, this strategy appeared to work — the team recorded 14 assists in total, compared to only six against BC. Dartmouth also had three scorers in the double digits; Samuels led the team with 23 points, Barry had 19, and freshman guard Ryan Cornish ’25 had 14. 

“A big thing is how selfless our group is and not worrying about who scores or who’s leading us each game,” Rai said. “The guys are willing to sacrifice what they want to do individually for the greater good of the team, which I think really showed in how everyone played together during Georgetown.”

The win against Georgetown was Dartmouth’s first against a major conference opponent in almost 32 years. Barry hopes the game against Georgetown is not an outlier, but an indicator of how the rest of the season will go.

“It’s an awesome win, but I don’t want this to be the peak of our season,” Barry said. “This should be a launching point for us for later in the season to be top-four in the Ivy League and have a shot at the Ivy League championship.”

The Big Green will be tipping off in their home opener against Northern Vermont University, Lyndon on Tuesday at Leede Arena. Heading into a break in the schedule until Nov. 28, McLaughlin said that the Big Green wants to make this game against NVU count.

“We’ll look into where they can hurt us in transition, take care of the ball as much as we should, some shot selection clips, and apply that to our game on Tuesday and make sure the guys are in a good spot headed into final exams,” McLaughlin said.

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