Dartmouth Falls Short in Defensive Struggle at Princeton, 67-57
PRINCETON, N.J. — Both Dartmouth and host Princeton struggled from the floor, shooting less than 40 percent, but the Tigers managed to drop nine three-pointers and hit 20-of-23 at the line to avenge their loss in Hanover three weeks ago, 67-57. Spencer Weisz recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds to lead Princeton (15-7, 3-5 Ivy) to its third win in the last four games.
Sophomore Connor Boehm hit 5-of-9 field goals for the Big Green (9-14, 2-7 Ivy) to provide 11 points, while freshman Wesley Dickinson added a career-high 10 points. Dartmouth has now lost five straight since beating the Tigers back on Feb. 1 to even its record at 9-9.
The first 14 minutes of the game were closely contested, and when freshman Eli Harrison stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for a breakaway layup with 6:17 left in the half, the Big Green had a one-point lead at 18-17. But that was the last field goal Dartmouth could muster in the opening stanza as the Princeton defense forced the Green to misfire on their last seven shots from the floor in that span.
At the other end of the court, the Tigers managed just two field goals of their own — three-pointers by Jimmy Sherburne and Ben Hazel — but also converted 8-of-10 at the foul line. Dartmouth, meanwhile, took just one trip to the line in the final minutes of the half with junior John Golden sinking the first of his two attempts.
The Princeton 14-1 run allowed it to take a healthy 31-19 lead into the locker room despite shooting 26.9 percent (7-of-26) for the half. Unfortunately for the Big Green, they could not top that mark, going 7-for-27 (.259). The Tigers also had five three-pointers to Dartmouth’s two, plus knocked down 12-of-14 foul shots while the visitors dropped just 3-of-5 at the charity stripe.
Within the first minute of the second half, Princeton opened up a 17-point advantage on a Will Barrett three-pointers and a layup by Hans Brase. But Dartmouth strung together eight straight points to cut the deficit back to single digits as senior Tyler Melville sandwiched a layup between three-point plays by Boehm and sophomore Brandon McDonnell. Barrett ended the rally with his third and final triple of the night.
Although the Tigers built their bulge back to 14 points, the Big Green continued to battle, chipping away with a layup by freshman Ike Ngwudo — the first points of his career in his first collegiate game — and two more by Boehm. When Dickinson took a pass from sophomore Malik Gill and was fouled while making a layup, he swished the ensuing free throw to bring Dartmouth within eight, 45-37, with little more than 10 minutes to play.
The next three-plus minutes belonged to Princeton, however, as it went on a 13-3 spurt to take control of the game. Weisz answered Dickinson’s three-point play with one of his own, then Sherburne drilled a three-pointer before laying one through the hoop. A minute later, Hazel scored five straight points with a trey and two freebies to cap the run.
With under two minutes to play, Hazel gave the Tigers their biggest lead of the night at 19 points, 66-47, scoring on the break. The Big Green pressed hard against the end of the Princeton bench in the final 100 seconds, leading to four turnovers with Dartmouth finishing the game on a 10-1 run thanks to three-pointers by Harrison and freshman Mike Fleming.
Joining Weisz with double-figure points were Brase with a team-high 14, Hazel with 12 and Sherburne with 10. Princeton outrebounded Dartmouth, 41-34, and sank 20-of-23 free throws to just 13-of-21 for the Green. Both teams improved on their field goal shooting in the second stanza to finish the game nearly identical — the Tigers hit 19-of-52 (.365) and Dartmouth 20-of-56 (.357).
McDonnell paced the Big Green with eight rebounds and three blocks, both career highs. Ten of the 12 players the see action scored for Dartmouth, while Gill and sophomore Alex Mitola dished out four assists apiece. The Tigers made a concerted effort to contain Melville and Golden, who combined to score 40 points in Dartmouth’s overtime win over Princeton three weeks ago as the duo managed to produce just six points on this night.
The Big Green goes for a season sweep of the Penn Quakers (6-16, 3-5 Ivy) on Saturday night when the two meet at the famed Palestra in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. Princeton will try to take down Harvard (21-4, 8-1 Ivy), which is tied for the league lead with Yale, tomorrow night with tipoff at 6 p.m.
Notes: Ngwudo missed the first 22 games of the season after undergoing hip surgery last summer. He finished the game with four points and six rebounds in 12 minutes … since the inception of formal Ivy League play in 1955-56, the Big Green have swept the season series from Princeton just once, that coming in 2006-07 … a win against the Quakers on Saturday would be the third straight for Dartmouth in the series, something it has not done since the 1957-58 and 1958-59 seasons.