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Men Take to the Road to Square Off Against Cornell, Columbia

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Kevin Crescenzi was solid off the bench in both games last weekend.     By Doug Austin

The Games: Dartmouth (9-11, 2-4) at Cornell (1-19, 0-6) and Columbia (14-9, 3-3)
Locations: Newman Arena (4,473), Ithaca, N.Y./Levien Gym (2,700), New York, N.Y.
Tipoffs: Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.
Series Record vs. Cornell: Tied, 103-103
Series Record vs. Columbia: Lions lead 107-97
Online Video and Audio: Big Green Insider on the Ivy League Digital Network — Dave Collins, play-by-play (audio broadcast only)
Live Stats
Complete Game Notes

Hitting the Road
•    Dartmouth just finished a five-game homestand, going 2-3, and now begins a stretch of four straight contests on the road and six of its last eight away from Hanover.
•    This weekend the Big Green travel to Cornell and Columbia, two teams that Dartmouth went 3-1 against in 2012-13.
•    Last weekend, the Green lost to Yale and Brown, both by 13 points. None of Dartmouth’s 20 games this season has been decided by any fewer than seven points.
•    With center Gabas Maldunas sidelined for the rest of the season with an injury, Dartmouth is led offensively by a trio of players in guard Alex Mitola (10.4 ppg), forward Connor Boehm (10.3 ppg) and forward John Golden (9.9 ppg).
•    Golden leads the team in scoring over the five games since Maldunas went down at over 12 points per game. His latest effort brought a team-high 17 points against the Bears last Saturday.
•    Mitola is among the league’s top three-point shooters and has made 107 in less than two years, already among the top 10 in Dartmouth history.
•    Senior co-captain Tyler Melville has snapped out of his January doldrums, scoring 35 points over the last three games (11.7 ppg).
•    Guard Kevin Crescenzi has provided a spark the last two weeks, shooting 50 percent while averaging 7.3 points in the four games.

Series vs. Cornell
•    Dartmouth has played the Big Red 206 times entering this game, more than any other opponent, and it’s all even at 103 wins apiece.
•    The two teams split the series last year with each one winning by double digits on its home court — Cornell first, 79-56, then the Big Green, 76-62.
•    The Big Green are 7-15 versus Cornell in Newman Arena, having lost the last eight after winning five straight here.
•    Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier is 8-12 against the Big Red during his career.

Scouting the Big Red
•    The 2013-14 season has been a struggle for Cornell at 1-19 thus far. That lone victory came versus Oberlin College, but the Big Red had close calls in an overtime loss to Loyola (Md.), a one-point defeat at Siena and a four-point loss to Yale.
•    Last weekend, Cornell suffered a 90-83 setback at Penn before Princeton handed the Big Red a 69-48 defeat in a battle of winless Ivy teams.
•    Cornell is last in the league shooting the ball from the floor (.415) and three-point range (.311).
•The Big Red’s free throw shooting has improved, however, at 72.0 percent in league play, but just 64.1 percent on the season.
•    Cornell is averaging the fewest points per game of any team in the league, but Nolan Cressler does his best to boost that total by providing 16.5 ppg.
•    Devin Cherry is not only the Big Red’s top distributor with 59 assists, but also scored 11.4 ppg and leads the squad with 15 blocked shots.
•    While Cressler and Cherry are solid rebounders, Dwight Tarwater has a team-best 5.7 rpg.
•    Head coach Bill Courtney (Bucknell ’92) is in his fourth year with an overall record of 36-71. Prior to coming to Ithaca, he had assistant coaching jobs at Virginia Tech, Virginia, Providence, George Mason and Bowling Green.

Series vs. Columbia
•    These two teams have squared off 204 times to date with the Lions leading, 107-97. Head coach Paul Cormier is 11-9 versus Columbia.
•    Dartmouth swept the season series last year, winning 60-57 in New York behind 20 points from Connor Boehm, and 64-58 on its home court as Alex Mitola supplied 21 points.
•    Dartmouth has gone 16-22 in Columbia’s Levien Gymnasium since it opened in 1974.
•    Neither team has scored 70 points versus the other in the last 15 encounters, and in only four of those games did both teams reach 60.

Scouting the Lions
•    Columbia has lost three of its last four, but that one win ended a 20-game losing streak at Jadwin Gym against Princeton as Meiko Lyles provided the game-winning three in the final 30 seconds.
•    During December and most of January, the Lions won eight of nine, including a win over Stony Brook and a sweep of Cornell. The lone defeat came at St. John’s by just six points.
•    The Lions have been the most accurate three-point shooting team in the Ivy League at 38.2 percent with Maodo Lo leading the loop at 48.1 percent (50-of-104).
•    Lo averages 13.8 ppg, but it is Alex Rosenberg who tops the team at 14.4, thanks in large part to hitting 128-of-163 (.785) free throws.
•    Speaking of free throws, it is no surprise that Columbia has the best team percentage (.753), with Grant Mullins 80-of-89 (.899), the third member of the team scoring in double figures (12.5 ppg).
•    Rebounding is a team effort, though Isaac Cohen grabs a solid 5.6 boards per game. The Lions own a rebound margin of plus-3.1 as well.
•    Kyle Smith (Hamilton ’92) is in his fourth year as head coach of the Lions with a record of 39-37 after nine years as an assistant at St. Mary’s.

Home Slate Nearly Done
With the end of the five-game Ivy League homestand on Feb. 1, Dartmouth will play six of its final eight games away from Leede Arena. Even so, the Big Green will end up hosting 15 games at Leede Arena, matching the most ever with the 2008-09 and 2009-10 squads.

Harrisons Lead the Offense
Freshmen Eli and Cole Harrison provided a big chunk of the offense in a 67-54 defeat against Yale on Feb. 7 with the former posting a team-high 12 points and the latter nine. Those nine points were the first in Cole Harrison’s collegiate career, due to illness that sidelined him for the first half of the season. The 6-10 center also tied for team-high honors with seven rebounds.

Rough Start Versus Yale
Dartmouth struggled to convert shots in the first half against Yale, knocking down just four field goals while shooting 16 percent to trail 30-16 at the break. Both the field goals and percentage were season-lows for the Big Green.

A Quarter Century in the Making
When Dartmouth defeated both Penn and Princeton at Leede Arena on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, it marked the first home sweep of the two traditional Ivy powers in 25 years (though the Big Green did win a weekend from the two on the road five years ago). The head coach of that 1988-89 squad should be a familiar name to fans — Paul Cormier, during his first stint in Hanover. In all, it was the fifth time Dartmouth won both home games against the two since the inception of formal Ivy play in 1955-56, and just the sixth time at home and on the road.

Golden Weekend
Junior John Golden was chosen as one of the two Ivy League co-Players of the Week on Feb. 3 for his part in the victories over Penn and Princeton. Against the Quakers he recorded season highs with 15 points and eight rebounds, plus led the team with three assists and three steals. During one six-minute stretch of the second half, Golden tallied 11 of the Big Green’s 15 points to turn a two-point deficit into a 10-point lead. The next night versus the Tigers, the New Jersey native scored even more points with 19, with the last two starting the overtime period and Dartmouth never trailed after that. Golden shot 60 percent (12-of-20) for the week.

Melville Glad to See February
Senior captain Tyler Melville broke out of a month-long slump by scoring a season-high 21 points against Princeton on Feb. 1, draining 7-of-11 shots, including 2-of-3 from three-point range. During January, he averaged just 1.2 points in the six games while shooting an unheard of 4 percent (1-of-25) from the floor. That came on the heels of his terrific play throughout 2013, during which he knocked down triples at a rate of 47.9 percent (35-of-73) and hit over half of all of his field goals at 91-for-178 (.511).

Overdue in Overtime
When Dartmouth defeated Princeton in overtime on Feb. 1, 78-69, it marked the first win after regulation for the Big Green since beating Brown on Feb. 2009, 63-61. Granted, they had only played four other overtime contests since then, but who’s counting? It also was the first time those two teams took longer than 40 minutes to decide a winner in 21 years. The Tigers beat Dartmouth in OT on Feb. 19, 1993, by a final of 63-60, also in Leede Arena.