The Games: Dartmouth (9-15, 2-8) vs. Columbia (17-10, 6-4) and Cornell (2-22, 1-9)
Location: Leede Arena (2,100), Hanover, N.H.
Tipoffs: Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m.
Series Record vs. Columbia: Lions lead 108-97
Series Record vs. Brown: Big Red lead 104-103
Online Video and Audio: Big Green Insider on the Ivy League Digital Network — Dave Collins, play-by-play
Complete Game Notes
Final Home Games of the Year
• Dartmouth returns home for its final two games at Leede Arena having lost its last six straight.
• The Big Green have a chance to eliminate Columbia from the Ivy title chase as the Lions are three games back with four to play.
• On Saturday, Dartmouth will honor its lone senior, captain Tyler Melville, before attempting to avenge a three-point loss against the Big Red it suffered on Valentine’s Day.
• Last week the Green could not finish a season sweep of either Princeton or Penn, falling to the Tigers by 10 and the Quakers by nine.
• Sophomore Brandon McDonnell enjoyed perhaps the best weekend of his career, corraling a career-high eight rebounds with three blocks against Princeton, then recording a career-best 18 points with seven more boards at Penn.
• Big Green fans finally got a look at freshman Ike Ngwudo, who missed the first 22 games after undergoing hip surgery last summer. The rookie displayed the athleticism that excited the coaching staff with four points and six rebounds in his debut at Princeton.
• Speaking of freshman, Wesley Dickinson tallied a season-best 10 points versus the Tigers as well.
• Dartmouth has two regulars available averaging at least 10 points a game in sophomores Connor Boehm (10.3 ppg) and Alex Mitola (10.1).
|Click through to check out the game program and feature story on Tyler Melville.|
Series vs. Columbia
• These two teams have squared off 205 times to date with the Lions leading, 108-97. Head coach Paul Cormier is 11-10 versus Columbia.
• Dartmouth swept the season series last year, but the Lions took the first game this season with a 69-59 win in New York two weeks ago. Maodo Lo had 22 points and Alex Rosenberg 19 in the win.
• Dartmouth has gone 16-10 against Columbia in Leede Arena, including last year’s 64-58 victory.
• Neither team has scored 70 points versus the other in the last 16 encounters, and in only four of those games did both teams reach 60.
Scouting the Lions
• After starting 3-4 in league play, Columbia has won three straight, beating a team tied for the Ivy lead (Yale) and another that was third (Brown).
• But on the road, the Lions are just 2-3 against Ancient Eight teams with wins at Cornell and Princeton.
• After shooting better than 40 percent from three-point range in non-conference games, Columbia is barely better than 30 percent in the 10 Ivy contests.
• The Lions rely heavily upon Alex Rosenberg and Maodo Lo with the duo providing more than half of their points in conference games. Rosenberg averages 19.6 ppg, thanks in large part to sinking nearly nine free throws per game, while Lo provides 15.5 ppg.
• As a team, Columbia owns the best free throw percentage in Ivy play (.790) and overall (.764) by wide margins.
• Rebounding is a team effort, though Isaac Cohen grabs a solid 5.5 boards per game. The Lions own a rebound margin of plus-3.2 as well.
• Kyle Smith (Hamilton ’92) is in his fourth year as head coach of the Lions with a record of 42-37 after nine years as an assistant at St. Mary’s.
Series vs. Cornell
• Dartmouth has played the Big Red 207 times entering this game, more than any other opponent, and Cornell has a slim 104-103 advantage.
• The two teams split the series last year with each one winning on its home court. Dartmouth is trying to match that feat this year after dropping a tight 70-67 game in Ithaca on Valentine’s Day, the only game decided by less than seven points all year for the Green.
• Dartmouth is 15-11 versus Cornell in Leede Arena having won two of the last three meetings in Hanover.
• Dartmouth head coach is 8-13 against the Big Red during his career.
Scouting the Big Red
• The 2013-14 season has been a struggle for Cornell at 2-22, but its lone Division I victory came against the Big Green two weeks ago.
• Last weekend, the Big Red nearly picked up another win, but lost to Brown in overtime, 81-75.
• In Ivy games, Cornell is last in the league shooting the ball (.397), field goal percentage defense (.497) and rebound margin (-3.6).
• One statistic which is favorable for the Big Red is free throw shooting; the team is hitting 71.7 percent of its foul shots against Ivy teams.
• Nolan Cressler has been Cornell’s best offensive weapon, averaging 17.7 ppg while shooting 46.0 percent on three-pointers in league play.
• Devin Cherry does a little bit of everything, posting 14.4 ppg and leading the Big Red with 33 assists and 52 rebounds against the league.
• Dartmouth would be wise to keep tabs on Jake Matthews, too, who burned the Big Green with a trio of triples in Ithaca.
• Head coach Bill Courtney (Bucknell ’92) is in his fourth year with an overall record of 37-74. Prior to coming to Ithaca, he had assistant coaching jobs at Virginia Tech, Virginia, Providence, George Mason and Bowling Green.
McDonnell McDoes It
Although Dartmouth could not pick up a win at Princeton or Penn on Feb. 21-22, sophomore had his finest weekend as a member of the Big Green. First he collected eight rebounds and three blocks — both career highs — against the Tigers, then had a personal-best 18 points versus the Quakers the next night. Of those 18 points, 10 came in the first five minutes as he hit his first five field goal attempts.
Time To Like Ike
After missing the first 22 games while rehabbing from hip surgery last summer, freshman finally made his collegiate debut when Dartmouth played at Princeton on Feb. 21. The rookie played 12 minutes, scoring four points and hauling in six rebounds.
On the Rebound
Dartmouth will almost undoubtedly end up with more rebounds than its opponents this year, having an edge of 79 caroms with four games to play. It has been 27 years since the Big Green finished a season with a positive rebound margin. And if Dartmouth can maintain its rebound average of 33.9 per game, it would be their highest total since posting 36.1 per game in the 1998-99 season.
Scoring Up, Too
Like the rebounding totals, Dartmouth is going to finish the 2013-14 season with its highest scoring average in quite some time. Currently at 66.8 points per game, no Big Green squad has matched that total since the 1996-97 campaign. Even if the average falls half a point lower, Dartmouth will still have its best showing since the 1999-2000 squad scored 66.4 ppg.
Mitola Joins Exclusive Club
When sophomore hit a pair of three-pointers in a 70-second span during the first half at Princeton, he became just the seventh player in Dartmouth history to record 50 or more triples in a season twice. The charter members were Jim Barton ’89 and Len Bazelak ’88, who both reached the mark during the first two seasons the three-point line was instituted. Others to achieve the feat since then are P.J. Halas ’98, Greg Buth ’01, Michael McLaren ’05 and Mike Lang ’06. Barton, Buth and Lang all did it three times, but no one has done it all four years — yet.
Glass Half Full for Boehm
Sophomore is poised to become the first Big Green player in nine years to shoot at least 50 percent from the floor while making at least three field goals per team game for a full season. Boehm has converted 51.7 percent thus far (105-for-203), which almost exactly matches David Gardner’s totals from the 2004-05 season (107-for-206, .519), the last person to accomplish the feat.
Lending a Helping Hand
Not just a scorer, has proven he can help others score as well. The sophomore has dished out 61 assists so far this season, the most since Robby Pride ’10 provided 62 as a senior captain in 2009-10. The last Big Green player to dole out at least 70 is Mike Lang, who handed out 78 helpers in 2005-06.