HANOVER, N.H. — The last time Dartmouth had swept a weekend from perennial powers Penn and Princeton was on the road a mere five years ago. But the last time the Big Green managed the feat at home came during head coach Paul Cormier’s first stint at Dartmouth’s helm — 25 years ago during the 1988-89 season.
One night after picking up a nine-point victory over Penn, the Big Green posted another nine-point triumph at Leede Arena, this time in overtime against visiting Princeton, 78-69. Both senior Tyler Melville and junior John Golden produced season highs on the scoreboard with 21 and 19 points, respectively, as Dartmouth (9-9, 2-2 Ivy) climbed back to .500 and ended a personal eight-game skid against the Tigers (12-5, 0-3 Ivy).
The largest lead for either team during regulation was just six points, which the Big Green attained on a number of occasions. The last time came on a Golden reverse layup off a feed from sophomore Connor Boehm along the baseline with just over five minutes to play, giving Dartmouth a 55-49 lead. But Princeton scored the next six points, capped by one of Will Barrett’s six three-pointers on the night as the senior scored a career-high 28 points.
Melville came right back by slashing to the hoop for a layup, and after Princeton’s T.J. Bray converted 1-of-2 at the line, the two teams traded pairs of free throws to keep the difference at one, 59-58, with 1:12 on the clock. Spencer Weisz came away with a steal and went the distance for a layup and a one-point Tiger lead, but again Melville found his way to the rim for another bucket with 39 seconds left. A Princeton turnover led to Melville going to the line, who sank both ends of the one-and-one. But Barrett tied the game at 63 by getting three the hard way. Golden fired up a three-pointer that was off the mark, and Princeton could not get another shot off, adding five more minutes of action to the nail-biter.
Dartmouth did most of its damage in the extra period at the foul line, scoring 11 of its 15 points there, beginning with two by Golden, but Barrett answered immediately with a layup. With three minutes left, Melville hit the first of two free throws, but the Tigers could not capitalize as Golden stole the ball away. Dartmouth missed a layup, but Boehm battled for the rebound and was fouled, leading to a pair of free throws and a three-point lead.
Princeton got two free throws from Chris Clement, but once again Melville broke down the Tiger defense and laid one in with 1:15 on the clock. Shortly thereafter, Barrett was whistled for his fifth foul on a charge. Princeton nearly forced a turnover, but during the scramble for the ball, the Princeton bench was assessed a technical foul. Sophomore Alex Mitola was sent to the line were he knocked down both freebies. After the Big Green inbounded the ball, Mitola was fouled again, and he provided two more free throws for a seven-point lead with 31 seconds to go.
Sophomore Brandon McDonnell left no doubt as to the outcome by canning two more foul shots for Dartmouth, then put the stamp on the victory with a breakaway two-hand jam in the waning seconds.
The Big Green enjoyed its finest shooting game of the new year, hitting 25-of-48 (.521) from the floor, including 5-of-12 (.417) from long range, plus a stellar 23-of-26 (.885) at the charity stripe. Their accuracy helped withstand 10 three-pointers by the Tigers as Barrett was 6-of-9. But his teammates managed just four triples in 21 attempts for a team percentage of .333.
Melville snapped out of a month-long funk by draining 7-of-11 field goals, 2-of-3 three-pointers and 5-of-6 foul shots. Golden also was 5-of-6 at the line while knocking down a pair of triples while going 6-of-12 overall for his 19 points. Boehm chipped in 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds to the Big Green cause, while McDonnell came off the bench to provide eight points and six boards as Dartmouth bested the taller Tigers on the glass, 28-26.
Joining Barrett in double figures for Princeton were T.J. Bray with 16 points and Hans Brase with 15, though the duo combined to shoot just 2-of-11 from behind the arc. Brase led the Tigers with seven rebounds and four assists as well.
“This team has faced a lot of adversity as far as some of their teammates not being able to play with injuries, and found a way to scrape out two wins against two perennial powers in the league,” said Coach Cormier. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way we played. But we also raised the bar this weekend on how we can channel emotion and a team-first attitude into winning. As a result of this, we are going to maintain these expectations and work at raising the bar even higher.”
Dartmouth finishes up a five-game homestand next weekend when it hosts Yale (9-9, 3-1 Ivy) on Friday at 7 p.m. and Brown (11-7, 3-1 Ivy) the following night at 7 p.m. Princeton heads home to Jadwin Gym to host Columbia (13-8, 2-2 Ivy) and Cornell (1-17, 0-4 Ivy) on those dates as well.
Notes: Melville has scored 20 or more points three times in his career, the last two against Princeton, where his father, Randy, was a two-time, first-team All-Ivy selection … in the first six games of 2014, Melville was just 1-of-25 from the floor after averaging 9.8 points and shooting 45.7 percent in the first 11 games of the season … Dartmouth dressed just 10 of its 15 players with 6-9 center Gabas Maldunas one of the five sidelined. He is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.