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Homestand Concludes with 70-66 Loss to IPFW

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Alex Mitola scored a game-high 18 points for the Big Green.     By Mark Washburn

HANOVER, N.H. — Sophomore John Golden and freshman Alex Mitola each tallied 13 points in the second half, but Dartmouth could not overcome the 13-point hole it dug for itself in the first half as visiting IPFW left Leede Arena with a 70-66 victory on Saturday afternoon. Isaiah McCray led four Mastodons in double figures with 18 points to lift IPFW (4-3) to its first road win of the season. Mitola also had 18 points with four three-pointers to pace the Big Green (1-2).

The Mastodons maintained that 13-point advantage for the first few minutes of the second stanza until Golden jump-started an eight-point run with a three-pointer from the left corner. A technical foul against IPFW’s Mario Hines for voicing his displeasure after a turnover, allowed Mitola to drain a pair of free throws, and sophomore Jvonte Brooks cleaned up a pair of misses by his teammates to make it a 43-37 game. Sophomore Gabas Maldunas then knocked down the first of two free throws to close the gap to five.

The second miss, however, led to three IPFW buckets in a 25-second span. McCray drove for a layup to end Dartmouth’s spurt, then consecutive turnovers before the Big Green crossed center court (two of just three Dartmouth miscues in the second half) opened the door for baskets by McCray and Joe Edwards. Suddenly, the Mastodon lead was back to 11.

Back-to-back Golden layups dropped the deficit into single digits for good as Dartmouth slowly battled back into the game. Freshman Malik Gill, listed at just 5-9, drove into the lane and scored on a layup to bring the Green within six with 10 minutes to play, and Maldunas scored on a hook shot next time down to make it a five-point game, 53-48.

Mitola, who had hit just 4-of-22 three-pointers to start his collegiate career, finally got on track when he drained a high-arcing shot from the corner to cut the IPFW lead down to two at 55-53. After Hines canned a short jumper, Mitola answered with another trifecta to bring the Big Green within one.

But Dartmouth could never quite get over the hump. The Mastodons rattled off the next seven points over a three-minute span, capped by a three by Michael Kibiloski for his only points of the afternoon. Mitola answered again with his third straight triple, then brought the Big Green back within three with 2:40 on the clock thanks to a 17-footer after the two sides traded free throws.

McCray came back with two foul shots before Dartmouth hit 3-of-4 at the line to make it 68-66 with exactly a minute to play. When Edwards hit just one of his two foul shots, the Green had a chance to tie. IPFW wasn’t about to give Mitola another look from downtown, so Gill took a long three from the top of the key that bounded off the rim. The Mastodons secured the rebound with 12.4 seconds left, then hit one more free throw to secure the victory.

The scoring started slowly, but IPFW strung together nine straight points to build an early 11-2 lead. The Big Green battled back behind five Maldunas points to bolster a 9-2 run of their own, closing the gap to two at 13-11.

The Mastodons controlled the final eight minutes of the period due to exceptional accuracy, converting 7-of-8 field goals (5-of-6 from three-point range) and 5-of-6 free throws. Both Frank Gaines and McCray hit three-pointers, but it was the three consecutive treys by Luis Jacobo in a 90-second span that allowed IPFW to build that 13-point advantage at the break.

After shooting 54.5 percent (12-of-22) in the first half, IPFW was held to just 39.3 percent (11-of-28) after the intermission to finish the game at 46.0 percent (23-of-50). Dartmouth turned it up in the second half to come in at an even 40 percent (24-of-60) from the floor. From behind the arc, the Mastodons enjoyed a bigger edge, draining 6-of-15 (.400) — including those five straight in the first half — to just 5-of-21 (.238) for the Big Green.

While IPFW went to the free throw line twice as often as the Green, it hit just five more foul shots — 18-of-30 (.600) compared to 13-of-15 (.867). Dartmouth did have a slight edge on the glass, grabbing 38 rebounds to 34 for the Mastodons.

Mitola finished the game 6-of-13 on field goals and 4-of-8 from long range with a pair of free throws for his 18 points, while Golden canned 5-of-8 with a triple and all four of his foul shots to score 15. Maldunas chipped in 10 points before fouling out late, plus tied Brooks for the team lead with eight rebounds.

McCray didn’t miss much, going 6-of-7 from the floor with a three and 5-of-7 at the line for his 18 points. Hines tallied 15 with a team-best eight boards, while Jacobo provided 13 points. The Mastodons leading scorer, Frank Gaines, was held 10 points below his season average with 12.

Dartmouth begins a stretch of eight straight games outside of Hanover starting with a showdown at Bucknell on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. Next up for IPFW is Navy in Annapolis, Md., on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.