Penn Holds on to Halftime Lead This Time, Beats Big Green, 74-65
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The last time these two teams met, Dartmouth rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat Penn in Hanover by nine. Tonight the Quakers did not let a four-point lead at the break evaporate on their home court and bested the Big Green at The Palestra by the same margin as the initial meeting in a 74-65 contest. Penn (7-16, 4-5 Ivy) had five players score in double figures led by Tony Hicks with 18 while Miles Jackson-Cartwright produced 15 points and nine assists.
Dartmouth (9-15, 2-8 Ivy) got a career-high 18 points from sophomore Brandon McDonnell, who also grabbed seven rebounds to share the team lead with junior John Golden, while sophomore Kevin Crescenzi added 10 points.
The Big Green came out of the gate on fire, drilling their first seven shots of the night to take a 14-8 lead after five minutes of play. McDonnell did most of the damage with five of those field goals, but picked up his second foul as the teams went into the first media timeout.
Penn gradually chipped away as Steve Rennard hit a three-pointer, Fran Dougherty scored the first of his 13 points with a traditional three-point play, and Hicks hit a short jumper in the paint for an 18-17 lead. Crescenzi immediately answered with a trifecta of his own, only to have Jackson-Cartwright rip a triple to regain the Quaker one-point lead.
After sophomore Alex Mitola canned a shot and McDonnell converted one of two free throws, Penn scored the next 12 points — eight by Hicks — over a three-and-a-half minute span to take a lead it would never relinquish at 33-23. The Big Green nearly wiped out that advantage, however, as sophomore point guard Malik Gill provided a spark off the bench by igniting a 9-0 run with a three-pointer. He also handed out a pair of helpers on the next two buckets, the first of which was a thunderous two-hand dunk by Golden.
When Crescenzi turned an outlet pass off a missed shot into a fastbreak layup, suddenly Dartmouth was down just one, 33-32, with just 1:38 left in the half. The Quakers managed to stem the tide, however, as Henry Brooks scored the last five Penn points of the stanza to help the hosts exit the court with a 38-34 lead at the break.
The halftime stats were fairly even, not surprisingly, though the Big Green were shooting 55.6 percent (15-of-27) to Penn’s 48.3 percent (14-of-29). The Quakers made up that difference with four three-pointers and 6-of-7 at the line, compared to just two triples and 2-of-4 at the charity stripe for Dartmouth.
Another Crescenzi three-pointer early in the second half close the gap to three at 42-39, and Golden provided two more throwdowns to keep Dartmouth in striking distance at 52-46 with 12 minutes to go. But Rennard provided another triple a minute later to build the Penn bulge back to 10 at 57-47.
The Big Green had one more gasp in them as McDonnell hit a baseline jumper and Boehm dropped in an easy layup off a feed from Gill, whittling the difference down to six again. But the Quakers went on an 11-2 spurt, highlighted by a Jackson-Cartwright three-pointer, and suddenly they led by 15 with barely six minutes remaining.
A trey by freshman Eli Harrison and six free throws in the final few minutes allowed Dartmouth to keep the final margin in single digits, but the Green could not avoid their sixth straight loss.
The shots that fell during the first 20 minutes for Dartmouth would not be duplicated in the second half as the team hit just 10-of-26 (.385) to finish the game at a solid 25-of-53 (.472). Penn was able to convert half of its field goals after the intermission, though, and finished the game 28-of-57 (.491) to pull away for the win and improve to 4-1 in the league on its home court.
Dartmouth returns to Hanover for its final home weekend of the year, hosting Columbia (16-10, 5-4 Ivy) on Friday night and Cornell (2-22, 1-9 Ivy) on Saturday. Both games tip at 7 p.m. with the latter being Senior Night at which the Big Green will honor the career of its lone senior, captain Tyler Melville. Penn will host Brown (14-10, 6-4 Ivy) on Friday at 7:30 p.m., then Yale (14-9, 8-1 Ivy) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Notes: Had the Big Green won the game, it would have given them a three-game winning streak against Penn, a feat Dartmouth has not accomplished since the late 1950s … Mitola matched a career high with six assists, though he was held to just four points after scoring 25 in the first meeting … as a team the Big Green handed out 17 helpers, their most since recording 25 assists on New Year’s Eve.