HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth seniors Miles Wright and Taylor Johnson combined to score 35 points on Senior Night at Leede Arena, but Cornell spoiled the festivities by starting its own party with an 86-75 victory to clinch the fourth and final berth for the Ivy League Tournament next week. The Big Red (12-15, 6-8 Ivy) proved their determination by shooting 63.3 percent (31-of-49) from the floor to keep the Big Green (7-20, 3-11 Ivy) at bay.
Matt Morgan and Jack Gordon each had 16 points for Cornell with three of their teammates also in double figures. Gordon was particularly efficient, hitting 6-of-7 from the floor and 4-of-5 from long range to account for his career-high output, while Morgan went 6-of-10 overall, 2-of-4 on 3-pointer and 2-of-2 at the foul line.
All four Dartmouth seniors — Johnson, Wright, Joseph Cook and Cameron Smith — were in the starting lineup with Wright dropping his 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting with three triples and a pair of free throws, while Johnson was 6-of-8 — 2-of-2 from distance — and 2-of-3 at the charity stripe for his 16. Cook, a Big Green football player who joined the team this winter to help with depth in the front court, provided a layup in the early minutes, while Smith added a point at the foul line.
The way the game started, it seemed as if the two teams were playing to see which one would get to 100 first. While Dartmouth knocked down seven of its first nine field goal attempts with a trio of 3-pointers, Cornell hit 10 of its first 11 with three long balls of its own, Steve Julian (11 points) capped a 7-0 run with a dunk, causing the Big Green to call a timeout trailing, 25-18.
Cornell extended the lead to 10 a little more than a minute later, but Dartmouth put together a 10-2 spurt fueled by seven points from Johnson, to get back within one at 33-32 with still more than 7:30 to play in the half.
After Morgan and Wright traded buckets the Big Red quickly ballooned their advantage back to 10 with two Gordon trifectas and another by Morgan. The Big Green were able to get back within six at 48-42 before halftime arrived as Wright led all players with 14 points.
In the second stanza, Cornell managed to keep Dartmouth at arm’s length by improving on its 60 percent shooting over the first 20 minutes. Sophomore Will Emery, who had 11 points for the Big Green, gave the home team some hope with a two-hand jam to start the half, but the Big Red rattled off the next seven points.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Johnson and sophomore Brendan Barry quickly closed the gap to five, but two minutes later, it was Cornell dropping back-to-back triples courtesy of Jake Kuhn and Gordon. Another Kuhn trey with eight minutes to play gave the Big Red their largest lead of the night at 72-56.
Sophomore James Foye was able to whittle the deficit down to eight points at 74-66 with five consecutive points on a short jumper and a 3-pointer, and with four minutes to go, freshman Chris Knight added a free throw to get Dartmouth within seven. But that would be as close as the hosts would get as the Big Red sank 6-of-7 foul shots in the final three minutes.
Wright and Johnson departed the floor with 43 seconds left to a nice round of applause from the home crowd as the duo finished the season as Dartmouth’s two leading scorers.
The Big Green end the season with a 7-20 overall record for a second straight season, while Cornell will play top-seeded Harvard in the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament on Saturday at the Palestra.
Notes: Wright passed his former teammate, Connor Boehm ’16, on the career scoring list by a single point (1,128) … Knight led Dartmouth with five assists for the second straight night after dishing out just 18 all season before this weekend … Cook finished his Big Green career 3-of-3 from the floor, giving him the most makes without a miss in program history.