FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Senior Taylor Johnson posted a season-high 20 points and three other Big Green players scored in double figures, but Dartmouth (2-4) could not come all the way back from 18 down in a 79-73 loss at Sacred Heart (4-5). Sean Hoehn tied a career-high with 19 points for the host Pioneers to help Sacred Heart win for the fourth time in its last six games.
Sacred Heart shot 50.9 percent (28-of-55) for the night and 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from long range thanks to its top three scorers — Hoehn, Zach Radz (17) and Joseph Lopez (14). That trio combined to knock down 18-of-31 field goals (58.1 percent) and six of the team’s seven 3-pointers.
Dartmouth struggled shooting the ball for most of the night, finishing at 41.9 percent (26-of-62) overall, 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from distance and 61.5 percent (16-of-26) at the foul line, all well below its season averages. Johnson was 7-of-13 with a trifecta in reaching 20 points for the second time in his career, while sophomore Brendan Barry and freshman Chris Knight contributed 13 points apiece, and senior Miles Wright chipped in 10.
After falling behind by eight at halftime, 40-32, the Big Green saw its deficit go into double figures for the first time on Sacred Heart’s first possession of the second stanza as Lopez dropped in a layup. But every time the Pioneers would score in the first six minutes of the half, Dartmouth would answer, closing the gap to six at 48-42 on a pair of Wright free throws.
Sacred Heart proceeded to embark on a 12-point run, starting with a floater by Hoehn in the paint and a 3-pointer from Alex Watson, causing Big Green head coach David McLaughlin to call a timeout. Lopez continued the run with a putback, and five straight free throws ballooned the Pioneer lead to 60-42 with just under 11 minutes to play.
Dartmouth still trailed by 18 five minutes later before gradually mounting a comeback. Johnson hit a short jumper in the paint, and a Pioneer turnover led to a layup by freshman Aaryn Rai, who had seven points and a team-high eight rebounds. Two Johnson free throws whittled the gap to a dozen in barely a minute of action at 66-54.
Radz tried to provide the dagger with a long 3-pointer, but the Big Green would not relent. Johnson drove for a layup and was fouled, and when his free throw was off the mark, he was able to get the rebound and find Wright for a long jumper. The deficit finally dropped to single digits when Knight soared high above the rim to grab a miss and slam it home, making it a 69-60 game with 2:25 left.
After the electrifying jam, Hoehn beat the defense down the court and quickly laid in a bucket off a long outlet pass, then hit two foul shots after the two sides committed three straight turnovers, boosting the SHU advantage back to 13 with 1:21 to go. Rai, Johnson and Barry all hit 3-pointers with the last one bringing the Big Green within six at 79-73 with 20.8 seconds left, but they would get no closer.
Sacred Heart put together an early 11-3 run to jump out to a 13-7 lead after nine minutes as the Big Green struggled to find their range, hitting just two of their first 15 field goals.
The difference remained between three and six points as Hoehn hit his first of four 3-pointers in the half for the Pioneers. But when Zach Radz and Hoehn hit triples on consecutive possessions, SHU had boosted its advantage to eight at 26-18 with 5:50 the break.
Dartmouth was able to keep within striking distance, however, as Barry popped a long ball, Knight dropped in a layup and Rai hit the second of two free throws, closing the gap to two at 26-24. Another Sacred Heart spurt, fueled by two more Hoehn trifectas, gave the host its largest lead of the stanza at 36-27, leading to a Big Green timeout. Johnson produced three points in the final minute, but Radz answered with a layup just before the horn sounded to give the Pioneers their eight-point lead at the half.
Next up for the Big Green is a Friday night game at Maine (2-7) at 7 p.m. that will be streamed live on ESPN3. Sacred Heart will finish off a brief two-game homestand on Saturday afternoon against Lafayette at 3:30 pm.
Notes: Johnson’s other 20-point game came in his sophomore campaign when he tallied a career-high 22 points against Brown in an 87-70 victory ... Barry has had at least two 3-pointers in each of his last eight games, dating back to last year, the longest stretch for a Dartmouth player since Alex Mitola ’16 did it in 13 straight games spanning the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons ... this was the first-ever meeting between Sacred Heart and the Big Green on the hardwood.