HANOVER, N.H. — Senior Taylor Johnson tallied 21 points and freshman Adrease Jackson added 16 to lift Dartmouth (5-16, 1-7 Ivy) to its first Ivy League victory of the season in a 72-56 triumph over the defending Ivy League champion, Princeton (11-12, 3-5 Ivy), on Saturday night in front of 1,396 flannel-clad fans at Leede Arena. The Big Green dominated the boards, outrebounding the Tigers, 43-23, and held the visitors to a mere four points over the final seven minutes.
The win was the first this calendar year for Dartmouth, ending a 10-game losing streak and a personal seven-game slide against Princeton. The Big Green also enjoyed their largest margin of victory over the Tigers since a 71-52 victory 10 years ago.
Princeton entered the game leading the Ivy League in 3-point percentage, but the Dartmouth defense put the clamps down and held the Tigers to just 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from distance and under 40 percent (23-of-59, .390) overall. At the other end of the court, the Big Green found the range in the second half, draining 14-of-25 (.560) from the floor and 5-of-8 (.625) behind the arc, not to mention 14-of-16 (.875) at the foul line.
When Devin Cannady canned a 3-pointer with 7:07 to play, Princeton sported a 52-50 advantage for the 15th lead change of the night. Both teams had shots blocked at the rim before Johnson ripped off a triple from right in front of the Big Green bench for a 53-52 lead. That long ball ignited a 12-point run during which Princeton missed six shots and turned the ball over once.
Senior Miles Wright, who led the Dartmouth rebounding effort with 10 caroms, capped the run by driving into the lane for a short, lean-in jumper to boost the lead to 10, 62-52. Amir Bell finally ended the Tigers scoring drought with a quick layup, but missed the free throw after being fouled.
Two free throws by Johnson were answered on another Bell layup and foul, only for him to miss the foul shot once again. Johnson then dialed up a dagger of a 3-pointer with 1:25 to play, increasing the Big Green lead to 11, 67-56. Dartmouth converted 5-of-6 free throws the rest of the way to seal up its victory.
“Our rebounding, in the second half in particular, allowed us to get out in transition a little bit,” head coach David McLaughlin said after the game. “Last night, Penn was able to get three offensive rebounds in the second half that led to eight points. When we are in a one-possession game, those rebounds really mean something, and tonight we made sure we didn’t having defense stops go to waste due to offensive rebounds.”
The first half was a defensive struggle between the two as both teams shot under 40 percent over the first 20 minutes. Dartmouth scored the first basket, but the Tigers never trailed for the remainder of the stanza after scoring nine straight points, punctuated by a Richmond Aririguzoh dunk.
Jackson kept Dartmouth in the game by scoring 10 of the team’s first 12 points, but Princeton still had a seven-point advantage 10 minutes into the game before the Big Green rattled off three straight buckets, one from sophomore Will Emery sandwiched between two Johnson shots in the paint. Both teams then drilled a 3-pointer, and sophomore Brendan Barry answered an Aririguzoh layup with one of his own in the final minute. Cannady was off the mark on a last-second trey, leaving the Tigers up one at the break, 26-25.
Over the first 10 minutes of the second half, the two sides were separated by no more than two points as the lead switched hands time and again. The tide started to turn when sophomore Ian Sistare beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer for a 44-43 lead, and Wright followed up a Princeton layup with another long ball. After Jerome Desrosiers laid in another basket for the Tigers, it was Barry’s turn from the perimeter, breaking a 47-all tie with a 27-footer from the top of the key.
Princeton scored the next five points, but the rest of the game was colored Green.
“This was a true team effort with incredible energy from everyone on the floor and the bench,” McLaughlin added. “We have been playing hard, smart and together, the only difference is that we happened to win the game tonight as some bounces finally went our way. To be in as many tight games late over the past three weeks has really given us an identity. Hopefully we can use this win to propel us forward even further.”
Dartmouth finished the game shooting 47.2 percent (25-of-53) overall, 35.0 percent (7-of-20) on 3-pointers, and rarely missed at the line, going 15-of-17 (.882). While Princeton committed just four turnovers all night, it converted just 2-of-7 (.286) foul shots, and only Cannady finished the night in double figures with 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
Both Johnson and Jackson went 7-of-9 from the floor with the former hitting a pair of 3-pointers and Jackson one. Johnson topped 20 points for the fourth time this season and fifth time in his career.
The Big Green continue their home stand next weekend when it hosts Yale (11-13, 4-4 Ivy) on Friday night at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on both ESPN3 and the Ivy League Network, now available on Apple TV, Roku and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices, with Bob Lipman and Eric Berry calling the action. Dartmouth fans can also listen live locally on KOOL FM (106.3 and 96.7) and anywhere in the world on koolnh.com with Brett Franklin on play-by-play and Bill Murphy providing color.
Notes: Dartmouth encouraged all fans to wear a tartan flannel tonight in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of people wearing tartan. The final tally of whether not the record was broken has not been issued … Princeton had won 15 of the previous 16 meetings against the Big Green … Wright posted double-digits in rebounds for the third time in his career while starting his 100th career game … Dartmouth had not won on a Saturday all season (now 1-8) … the Tigers have lost four straight games, their longest skid in league play in four years … the Big Green enjoyed its largest rebound margin in almost exactly two years, besting Brown on the boards, 43-21, on Feb. 13, 2016 … freshman Chris Knight had a season-high seven rebounds.