HANOVER, N.H. — Senior Brandon McDonnell came off the bench to lead four Dartmouth players in double figures with 17 points, sending the host Big Green to a 74-65 victory over Hartford on Saturday afternoon at Leede Arena. Senior Connor Boehm added his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds as Dartmouth (2-3) dominated the glass with 51 rebounds, its most in three years.
The Hawks (3-6) got a career-high 21 points from Pancake Thomas in a reserve role, but shot just 34.5 percent (20-of-58) from the floor while the Big Green shot a season-high 47.5 percent (29-of-61) thanks to 46 points in the paint. Of Hartford’s 20 field goals, 12 came from behind the arc in a season-high 38 attempts (31.6 percent).
McDonnell scored his 17 points in just 16 minutes on the floor, hitting 6-of-10 shots and all five free throws while grabbing seven rebounds. Joining him and Boehm in double digits were sophomore Miles Wright with 13 points and eight rebounds, and sophomore point guard Cameron Smith tallying a career-high 11 points on his birthday in his first career start.
Dartmouth trailed for just 52 seconds in the game, but Hartford went on a nine-point run to knot the score at 52 with five minutes to play, thanks to Thomas who drilled back-to-back three-pointers while producing a four-point play on the second one.
Big Green captain Tommy Carpenter, who saw just three minutes of action in the game, provided the spark that sent Dartmouth on its way, driving to the rim on a crossover dribble and scoring his only points on a reverse layup to break the deadlock. That began a seven-point spurt, capped by a McDonnell three-point play, to put the Green up, 59-52, coming out of the final media timeout.
Thomas answered with a three-point play of his own for the Hawks, but after the two sides traded buckets, Dartmouth gradually pulled away as it converted 7-of-10 at the charity stripe. A Boehm three-point play with 1:16 to play boosted the lead to 11 points, and McDonnell added another three-point play for the Big Green’s largest lead of the afternoon at 73-61, with 25 seconds to go, sealing the victory.
The Dartmouth defense proved to be stingy early in the contest as Hartford did not score for nearly seven and a half minutes as the Hawks missed their first 10 shots, seven from behind the arc. But Dartmouth had just an 8-0 lead when Evan Cooper, who had 14 points off the bench, provided the first Hartford points with a three-pointer.
Following a layup by Big Green freshman Evan Boudreaux, Hartford ripped off seven straight points, capped by a Taylor Dyson triple, for what turned out to be the only lead for the Hawks all game at 15-14. Less than a minute later, Wright drained an 18-footer to reclaim the lead for Dartmouth. When Jalen Ross converted a three-point play to tie the score at 20 apiece with 2:41 on the clock, the Big Green denied any more Hartford points and took a 24-20 lead into the locker room thanks to Smith’s drive to the rim just before the clock expired.
Turnovers kept the Hawks in the game as Dartmouth coughed the ball up 12 times in the opening half, leading to 16 of Hartford’s 20 points. The Hawks shot a woeful 7-of-29 (.241) in the stanza, and just 3-of-17 (.176) from downtown. The Big Green, on the other hand, failed to hit a trey (0-for-4) while connecting on 10-of-27 (.370) field goals overall and doubling up Hartford on the glass, 28-14.
It looked like the Dartmouth might run away with the game when it opened up an 11-point advantage little more than four minutes into the second half. Boehm drained a three-pointer — the only one of the game for the Green — then capped the 11-4 start to the half by leaping high for pass and swiveling for a layup.
Yet Hartford would not give in, utilizing a 14-4 run thanks to four three-pointers (the last two from Cooper) to get back to even at 41-41. Dartmouth responded with an 11-2 run of its own as McDonnell produced five points and senior Kevin Crescenzi, who had a season-high eight points and career-best nine rebounds, finished off the run with a short jumper in the paint. That merely set up Hartford’s nine-point spurt before the Big Green put the game away in the final five minutes.
Dartmouth finishes its three-game homestand with two victories and now begins a four-game road trip beginning with a game in Bangor, Maine at the Cross Insurance Center against the Black Bears of the University of Maine. Tip-off is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Hartford, meanwhile, will begin a four-game homestand on Wednesday when it hosts Quinnipiac at 7 p.m.
Notes: The last time the Big Green had 51 rebounds came in a 71-49 loss at Elon on Dec. 4, 2012, almost exactly three years ago to the day … Boudreaux was held to less than 10 points for the first time in his career with just six on 3-of-10 shooting. He entered the game averaging 18 points in the first four Dartmouth contests … the Big Green are 7-10 against Hartford all-time.