Dartmouth Ends Season with First Win at Yale in 15 Years
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Sophomore Alex Mitola scored 29 points with five three-pointers to lead the visiting Dartmouth Big Green to an exhilarating 69-61 victory at Yale on Saturday night. The win was the third straight for Dartmouth (12-16, 5-9 Ivy) and its first at the Bulldogs’ Lee Amphitheater in 15 years. Justin Sears led Yale (15-13, 9-5 Ivy) with a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds, but could not keep the Elis from dropping their fourth game in the last five contests.
Trailing 46-44 with eight minutes to play, the Big Green rattled off nine straight points to take a seven-point lead. The 5-11 Mitola drove through the lane to the rim for a layup to tie the score, and junior John Golden redeemed himself after misfiring on the front end of a 1-and-1 by draining a three-pointer break the deadlock. Sophomore Malik Gill then stripped a Bulldog ball handler and was intentionally fouled, sending him to the line for two foul shots, which he converted. The Big Green took advantage of the extra possession as senior Tyler Melville went high off the glass to get his layup over a Yale defender for a 53-46 lead and 5:18 on the clock.
Although the Bulldogs sank their next six free throws, Mitola sprinkled in a pair of three-pointers to keep the Dartmouth lead at seven. He then answered a Javier Duren bucket with a floater in the lane, and Gill was sent to the line twice after Yale misses, where he knocked down three of his four attempts for a 64-54 lead and just 1:11 to play. It was the only double-digit lead of the night for either team.
But Yale wouldn’t go quietly as its defense forced two straight turnovers and cut the deficit in half to 64-59 with 40 ticks remaining. Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier then called one of his two remaining timeouts to settle his team, and the Big Green hit 5-of-6 at the line to thwart a miraculous Bulldog rally.
Mitola was 9-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, plus drained all six of his free throws in scoring the second-most points of his career, four shy of the 33 he tallied just one week ago in a win over Cornell. Having scored 27 in this venue with seven triples as a freshman last year, Mitola finds Lee Amphitheater a home away from home.
Already playing without All-Ivy center Gabas Maldunas, who was lost for the season back in January, as well as two other big men in 6-7 Tommy Carpenter and 6-10 Cole Harrison because of various injuries, Dartmouth suffered another blow early in the second half when starting 6-8 forward Brandon McDonnell — who scored 11 in the first half — landed on Sears’ foot after a shot and left the game. Cormier decided to go small for much of the rest of the game with Mitola and the 5-9 Gill playing with 6-2 Melville in the backcourt, and shifting the 6-6 wing Golden to power forward.
While Yale was able to dominate the glass with 38 rebounds to just 24 for the Green, Dartmouth pestered the Bulldogs into shooting just 36.2 percent (17-of-47) for the game, and Gill collected five of the team’s eight steals.
The first half was primarily a back-and-forth affair with four lead changes and six ties. Neither team led by more than three points for the first 13:30 until Duren was fouled on a three-point attempt and he converted all three freebies to give Yale a 22-17 lead. That advantage evaporated when Mitola drilled his first trifecta and canned two free throws after Sears was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
Sears and McDonnell traded layups, but Sears answered with second layup and added a free throw before Duren provided two more at the charity stripe. Again Mitola ripped the net for three points, but following another Sears free throw, Armani Cotton rained down a three-pointer for the Bulldogs’ biggest advantage of the game, 33-27, with 1:27 remaining in the half. The Big Green were able to close the gap to two, however, as McDonnell hit a jumper and Mitola added two free throws in the final seconds, leaving it a 33-31 Yale lead at the break.
In the second stanza, Mitola reclaimed the lead for Dartmouth at 41-39 with a triple, and took it to the rim for a layup between Brandon Sherrod buckets, leaving the score knotted at 43. Matt Rennie sank 1-of-2 free throws for the Big Green before Anthony Dallier put Yale back on top with a basket in the lane, and Matt Townsend made 1-of-2 foul shots for a two-point Bulldog lead. Dartmouth immediately went on its 9-0 run and closed out the victory.
The Big Green shot 44.7 percent (21-of-47) for the game, but 50 percent (10-of-20) in the decisive second half, Five of their seven three-pointers on the night came after halftime, and they converted 80 percent (20-of-25) for the night.
McDonnell scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting before departing with his injury, and Golden added 10 with two key three-pointers in the second half. Sophomore Connor Boehm led Dartmouth’s efforts on the boards with six rebounds, and Gill came off the bench to dish out three assists to go with his five steals and five points, all at the line in the second half.
Sears was the only Bulldog with more than two field goals in the game, going 7-of-10 with a trey and 11-of-14 at the foul line. Duren added 12 mostly due to sinking 10-of-11 free throws.
Dartmouth matched its conference record from a year ago, while its 12 victories are its most since the 1998-99 squad went 14-12. Should Penn lose at Princeton on Tuesday evening, the Big Green would finish the year tied for sixth in the Ivy League standings with the Quakers at 5-9.