Dartmouth men’s basketball comes up short against Yale and Brown in back-to-back games
Dartmouth’s last four losses have been by no more than four points.
This weekend, the Dartmouth men’s basketball team took on Yale University and Brown University on the road. The Big Green was unable to successfully close out either game, falling to Yale 72-69 Friday night followed by an even closer 62-60 loss to Brown Saturday night. Dartmouth is now 2-6 in Ivy League play, sitting at seventh in league standings.
In Dartmouth’s first game of the weekend, the Big Green came out swinging, taking an early lead that they held for the first six minutes of the game. Dame Adelekun ’23 started off hot, scoring 10 of the team’s first 14 points. He remained a fixture for the Big Green throughout the game, finishing with 17 points and 15 rebounds to secure a double-double and season highs on both of those statistics.
“I really wanted to do well against [Yale],” Adelekun said. “I’ve always known Yale’s one of the better teams in the league, and I wanted to prove a point that we can beat any team in this league. I got a couple buckets early, plus an offensive rebound, which really got me going.”
With a little over 13 minutes left in the first half, Yale took the lead and held it for the remainder of the game. The Bulldogs’ first half shooting performance was impressive; they posted a 57.1 field goal percentage, with many of those baskets coming from strong offensive play in the paint. Dartmouth tried to cut Yale’s lead as much as possible, but a 7-0 Bulldog run to end the half left the Big Green down 41-32 heading into the intermission.
Throughout the second half, Yale maintained leads between six and 12 points until there were two and a half minutes left in the game. A free throw by Taurus Samuels ’22 coupled with an Adelekun layup cut the Yale lead to just three, which Yale’s Azar Swain then extended back to five from the charity stripe. Brendan Barry ’20 GR, who had 17 of his team-leading 25 points in the second half, then sank a three to cut the lead down to two. Azar responded with four more free throws, but Barry fired back yet again with a clutch and-one jumper to cut Yale’s lead to 70-69. As the free throw battle went on, Yale was perfect from the line and held the lead to the buzzer.
“My mindset [in those last few minutes] was to give us a shot to win,” Barry said. “We were down a lot of the second half between eight to 12 points, and we were able to get a few shots and go on a run there and stay within striking distance.”
As a team that typically relies heavily on its shooting abilities, Dartmouth’s subpar 7-24 shooting performance from behind the arc on Friday marks a clear area for improvement. Barry has been the Big Green’s best 3-point option, as he continues to lead the Ivy League in 3s and 3s-per-game. He averages 3.5 3s-per-game; Samuels, Dartmouth’s second-best 3-point option, averages just 1.3.
Garrison Wade ’22, who was a key contributor to last weekend’s win against Columbia University, noted that the team is focused on supporting each other on and off the court.
“Our team is super close, so when someone is struggling we are quick to pick him up,” Wade said. “Whether it is on the court or off the court, we’re helping each other out, giving each other tips when we can. When your teammate is struggling, it’s your responsibility to pick him up.”
Following yet another close loss this season, the Big Green had a quick turnaround the next day to take on Brown. Despite an early-season win over the Bears and a season-high seven 3s from Barry on Saturday, Dartmouth was unable to come away with a win and season series sweep.
With a chip on their shoulder after falling to Dartmouth earlier this season, the Bears opened up the game strong, taking the lead right from the jump and holding it until Dartmouth tied it with six minutes left in the game. In the first half, the Big Green shot just 25% from the field and 18.2% from behind the arc, scoring 19 points to Brown’s 24.
“Because of the back to back schedule, we didn’t have as much time to prepare as we wanted to,” Adelekun said. “We focused on moving the ball across the court quickly, but at the beginning of the game we struggled to get ball movement, which kept us on one side of the court and stalled our offense.”
To open up the second half, Brown kept its foot on the gas, opening up the lead 32-19 in the first two and a half minutes. With fifteen minutes left in the game, the Bears held their biggest lead, 42-28. Down by 14, Barry led the Big Green in a comeback, scoring five 3-pointers in just over 10 minutes. The Big Green went on a 17-0 run to take a 55-49 lead, with back-to-back Barry 3s giving Dartmouth a six point lead with six minutes left. However, in yet another free throw shooting battle, Brown managed to outlast Dartmouth and walked away with a 62-60 win.
“We can’t go down double digits like that and expect to win,” Barry said. “I’m proud of the way we battled back, but at the end of the day, it’s still a loss. The lesson is we need to be locked in for 40 minutes. From the start of the game, the start of the half, and all throughout we need to be locked in. It’s definitely disappointing to not come away with either of those games, but we just gotta move forward and focus on Princeton.”
With these two close road losses, the team is now 2-6 in Ivy League play. In each of its last four losses, the Big Green has not lost by more than four points. With Princeton University on tap for next weekend and only six games left in the regular season, Wade emphasized the importance of taking it one game at a time.
“The goal is so close, being a month away, that we really just want to focus on one game at a time,” Wade said. “I know it is tough, but if we hope to do what we want to do and what we have to do, then we have to take it one game at a time, or else we will lose focus.”