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Strong Defense, 2nd Half Send Men to 61-53 Win at Longwood

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Gabas Maldunas led Dartmouth with 19 points at Longwood.     By Mark Washburn
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FARMVILLE, Va. — A 16-0 run in the second half lifted Dartmouth to a 61-53 victory on the road at Longwood on Saturday afternoon as sophomore Gabas Maldunas poured in 19 points to lead the Big Green. The victory snapped a three-game skid for Dartmouth (2-3), which forced 22 Longwood (2-6) turnovers in the game.

Maldunas hit 8-of-18 field goals on the day and scored 14 of his 19 points in the decisive second half. Sophomore John Golden bolstered the offense with 16 points while drilling 4-of-5 behind the arc. In the game’s final seconds, it was freshman Alex Mitola who converted the final four free throws to the seal the victory and give him 10 points on the day.

Dartmouth trailed at the break, 23-19, and Longwood came out of the locker room by quickly doubling its lead to eight on buckets by Jeylani Dublin and David Robinson, the latter of whom finished with a game-high 21 points. But Maldunas came right back down the floor with a layup, then stole the ball at the other end which led to a Golden three-pointer, slicing the deficit to three.

Robinson built the Lancer lead back to seven with two more baskets, and the two teams traded jumpers to make it a 33-26 Longwood advantage. Again Golden drained a triple, which began the 16-point run for the Big Green.

A minute later, Maldunas took a feed from Mitola and laid it in, and when Robinson misfired on a three-pointer, Mitola showed him how to do it to give Dartmouth a 34-33 lead, its first it was 12-9 in the first half. But the Big Green weren’t done as freshman Tommy Carpenter set up senior center Matt LaBove for an easy layup, then freshman Malik Gill picked a Lancer pocket and dished it to Carpenter for another easy score, causing Longwood to call a timeout down five.

Still the Dartmouth barrage continued on another Carpenter layup from Gill, followed by a Golden jumper from Carpenter to run the surge to 16 points for a nine-point lead at 42-33. Robinson finally ended the four-minute run with a three-pointer, but the damage was done.

The scoring slowed considerably for the next six minutes with the only Big Green points coming on a Golden floater in the lane, and the Lancers getting back-to-back layups with just under 10 minutes to play. Three times Robinson closed the gap to three points, only to have Dartmouth respond each time, first on two free throws by sophomore Jvonte Brooks, then twice on short jumpers in the paint by Maldunas. And when Brooks stole a Longwood pass, he went the length of the floor and slammed home two more points, leading to another Lancer timeout.

Maldunas boosted the lead to nine again with 2:18 left with a layup, but Longwood didn’t give up. Robinson answered with a 15-footer and Tristan Carey popped a three-pointer to whittle the lead down to four at 55-51 with 1:36 to go. Dartmouth converted just 6-of-10 free throws in the final 90 seconds, but it was more than enough to give the Green their first road win in just over one year.

The first half was a sloppy affair with the two sides combining for 24 turnovers and just 16 field goals as Longwood took a 23-19 lead into the locker room. Dartmouth shot just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) in the opening stanza with 13 turnovers, while the Lancers weren’t much better at 37.5 percent (9-of-24) and 11 turnovers.

The second half was a different story as the Big Green dropped in 15 field goals in 28 attempts (.536) to boost their percentage for the game to 40.7. The also sank 9-of-14 free throws while Longwood failed to get to the foul line even once in the second half, which proved to be the difference in the score. Dartmouth finished the game 11-of-20 (.550) from the charity stripe, and the Lancers just 4-of-7 (.571).

Maldunas was 8-of-18 from the field and 3-of-6 at the line to account for his 19 points, and Golden was 6-of-10 overall with his four three-pointers. Mitola scored in double figures for the fifth straight game to start his collegiate career, plus handed out a season-high six assists. The 5-11 point guard also tied for team-high honors with Brooks with seven rebounds.

Robinson was the only Lancer in double figures with his 21 points as he hit on 10-of-15 field goals; the rest of the team combined to shoot 13-of-41 (.317). Forward Michael Kessens led all players with nine rebounds and blocked four shots, but also committed eight turnovers.

Dartmouth next plays at Elon (5-2 entering tonight’s game against College of Charleston) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Longwood has nine days off for exams before returning to the court to play at Georgetown on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.