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Courtesy: Doug Austin
Eli Harrison

Yale Defense Stifles Dartmouth, 67-54

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 02/07/2014
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HANOVER, N.H. — Thanks to a stifling defense that held Dartmouth to just four field goals in the first half, Yale earned the 200th victory for head coach James Jones on Friday night at Leede Arena in a 67-54 Bulldog triumph. Brandon Sherrod led Yale (10-9, 4-1 Ivy) with 15 points off the bench, while Big Green reserve Eli Harrison provided a team-high 12 in the losing effort.

The four field goals and 16 percent shooting in the opening stanza were both season lows for Dartmouth (9-10, 2-3 Ivy), which had its modest two-game win streak snapped. The Big Green offense got on track in the second half, improving to 40.6 percent (13-of-32) from the floor, but finished the game just under 30 percent (29.8, 17-of-57).

Yale, meanwhile, ripped the nets at a 63.2 percent clip in the first half (12-of-19), including 4-of-5 from downtown, to build up a 14-point lead at the intermission. The Bulldogs’ hot shooting helped offset the 11 turnovers they committed in the first 20 minutes. For the game, Yale converted 52.5 percent (21-of-40) field goals and 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from behind the arc. Sherrod was 4-of-6 from the floor and a perfect 7-of-7 at the line to account for his 15 points.

Dartmouth began the game by stealing the ball twice on Yale’s first two possessions and took a brief 3-2 lead as junior John Golden knocked down 3-of-4 free throws. But the Bulldogs’ Nick Victor and Armani Cotton started an 11-point run with consecutive three-pointers, which Jesse Pritchard capped with another triple for a 13-3 lead after seven minutes.

Sophomore Brandon McDonnell supplied the first Big Green field goal of the game after eight minutes had elapsed, and freshman Mike Fleming sank two foul shots to close the gap back to six. Sherrod responded by splitting the lane for a thunderous dunk, and soon the Bulldog lead was back to 10.

That advantage was bumped to 14 with five minutes on the clock, 23-9, as Matt Townsend provided six of eight Yale points in a four-minute stretch. Even when Harrison launched a three-pointer for the Big Green, Isaiah Salafia answered right back with one of his own. Fleming dropped in two more free throws with less than a minute remaining, only to have Cotton lay one in to send Yale into the locker room with a 30-16 lead.

After Townsend started the half with a bucket for the Bulldogs, sophomore Alex Mitola showed a sign that the second half would be different for Dartmouth as he drained a three from the corner off a nice feed from senior Tyler Melville. But over the next eight minutes, the Big Green had just one more field goal, a short jumper in the paint by McDonnell.

Yale did get whistled for numerous fouls in that time, however, as Dartmouth was in the bonus with more than 15 minutes to play. But the Big Green weren’t far behind, getting whistled for their seventh foul with nearly 12 minutes showing on the clock. By the end of the game, the Bulldogs had won the battle at the charity stripe as well, sinking 18-of-25 (.720), compared to 15-of-23 (.652) for Dartmouth.

It was a free throw that extended the Yale lead to 20 with 13:41 left as Sherrod completed a three-point play. Twice the bulge increased to 24 points, the second time on a Greg Kelley three-pointer with just over eight minutes remaining.

Dartmouth made the final score respectable by scoring the last nine points of the contest during the final two minutes, with Harrison ending the game with a trifecta.

While Eli Harrison was putting 12 points on the board, his unrelated teammate, freshman Cole Harrison was providing his first nine collegiate points while tying for the team lead with sophomore Kevin Crescenzi with seven rebounds. Dartmouth had just 10 players available with five players sitting out with various injuries, and the five reserves scored 38 of its 54 points on the evening.

Three starting Bulldogs supplied eight points apiece — Cotton, Townsend and Justin Sears — with Sears leading the charge on the glass with 10 rebounds. Yale finished the game with a distinct edge on the boards, 38-29, plus blocked nine shots, four by Sears. The only Bulldog deficiency was 18 turnovers while forcing just eight by the Big Green.

Dartmouth will get a chance to bounce back against Brown (11-8, 3-2 Ivy) on Saturday night at Leede Arena with tip-off coming at 7 p.m. The Bears lost a hard-fought 52-45 game at league-leading Harvard tonight. Yale, meanwhile, will try to pull even atop the Ivy League standings by taking on those same Crimson (18-3, 5-0 Ivy) tomorrow at 7 p.m.
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