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The Dartmouth
February 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

In a second-half comeback, men’s basketball defeats Brown 75-71

The Big Green erased an early, 14-point deficit to earn its first Ivy League victory.

cornish bball.jpeg

With 31.7 seconds remaining and Dartmouth up by two thanks to two free throws, Brown University gained possession of the ball. 

Senior guard Kimo Ferrari missed a three from the corner. Then junior guard Kino Lilly Jr., who had been hot all afternoon, missed from three. Lilly tried to save the wayward rebound, but the ball found its way into the hands of Romeo Myrthil ’25. No foul came. 

No. 21 Brandon Mitchell-Day ’26 leaked out with both hands in the air, as he sprinted down the floor. Myrthill found him with the outlet pass. Mitchell-Day took two dribbles, his allowed two more steps, and then took off. 

Mitchell-Day briefly hung in the air, then pulled the ball back with his right hand and flushed with authority: Leede Arena shook, as the crowd erupted. Mitchell-Day banged his chest and high-fived his teammates, releasing all that was pent up from an 0-3 Ivy League start. 

After finding themselves in an early 21-9 deficit, the Big Green were able to fight back. The lead was trimmed slightly to 11 at the break, but in the second half, the Big Green reached for a new weapon, firing 12-for-20 on the day from beyond the arc, including five from Mitchell-Day. 

“I’ve always thought I could shoot,” Mitchell-Day said, with a grin.“It’s just a matter of gaining that confidence.”

Those five triples were all a part of a career-high, 22-point effort from the Missourian, who also tallied 10 rebounds, marking his third double-double this year. Mitchell-Day said that changing the momentum was key to Saturday’s comeback. 

“The last two Ivy League games we had, we didn’t play up to the level we thought we could.” Mitchell-Day said. “Coach [David McLaughlin] preached all week about playing hard and staying tough.”

McLaughlin had high praise for his sophomore’s efforts from beyond the arc, saying that he didn’t mind the high volume of deep balls. 

“They were good shots, you know, we weren’t forcing any — those were rhythm threes.”

The Big Green used a new starting lineup for this match featuring Ben Brown ’27, who played an important role in their previous matchup against Yale University. Regular starters Dusan Neskovic ’24 and Jaren Johnson ’24 were left on the bench. 

“The bench was huge. After our last game, we needed to see something different to start,” McLaughlin said. “The guys that didn’t start, [Neskovic] and [Johnson], responded well.”

Neskovic was another huge component of the comeback, scoring 20 points off of the bench, shooting 7-for-12 from the field, and three-for-five from beyond the arc. Neskovic mentioned how today felt different than the first three Ivy League matchups. 

“We fed off of really good defensive possessions and moved that into the offense and then hit some big shots.” Neskovic said. “Today was a perfect example of us being able to feed off of that momentum.”

Neskovic also praised the efforts of Mitchell-Day, who has emerged as the team’s second leading scorer with the absence of Ryan Cornish ’25.

“Man, even you’re shooting better than me!” Neskovic joked to Mitchell-Day during the post-game press conference. 

Along with Cornish, Jayden Williams ’26 continues to recover from an injury. McLaughlin said things aren’t going to get any easier for the Big Green, as the road continues to be difficult in an improved Ivy League. 

McLaughlin also described a conversation he had recently with Brown’s men’s basketball head coach Mike Martin.

“[Martin] agreed with me — the league is the best it’s been since I’ve been here,” McLaughlin, in his seventh season, said.

The Big Green improved to 1–3 with the victory, and the Bears fell to meet them at the same record. Here’s a look into the Ivy League Standings after the action on Saturday:   

Looking ahead to next week, the Big Green will take on  Cornell University (15–3, 4-0 Ivy League). The Big Red are led by senior guard Chris Manon, who averages 11.7 points per game and 3.4 assists. In their last matchup on Feb. 17, Cornell defeated the Big Green 95-83 in Ithaca, New York.