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Courtesy: Mark Washburn
Connor Boehm led three Big Green players in double figures with 15 points off the bench.

Dartmouth Succumbs in Second Half at Columbia, 69-59

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 02/15/2014
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NEW YORK CITY — Columbia utilized a 17-4 run early in the second half to take control of a seesaw battle against visiting Dartmouth, then converted all 10 free throws in the final minute to fend off the Big Green at Levien Gym on Saturday night, 69-59. The victory is the first for the Lions (15-10, 4-4 Ivy) against Dartmouth (9-13, 2-6 Ivy) since the 2011-12 campaign.

Sophomore Connor Boehm came off the bench to lead Dartmouth with 15 points, while sophomore Alex Mitola added 13 thanks to three first-half three-pointers. After shooting 50 percent (10-of-20) in the opening stanza, the Big Green managed just two field goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half en route to shooting 35.7 percent, finishing the game at 41.7 percent (20-of-48).

Columbia was led by Maodo Lo with 22 points as he shot 8-of-15 from the floor with a pair of three-pointers, plus knocked down all four of his free throws. Alex Rosenberg was the only other Lion in double figures with 19, converting 14-of-15 at the foul line.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair with eight ties and 10 lead changes as neither side could pull ahead by more than four points. Mitola supplied most of Dartmouth’s offensive firepower in the first seven minutes thanks to his trio of triples. Meiko Lyles countered with a pair of three-pointers for the Lions, but when sophomore Kevin Crescenzi drove for a layup with 10 minutes gone, the Big Green sported a 20-18 lead.

Columbia knotted the score again at 20, but a Boehm jumper and two free throws by junior John Golden gave Dartmouth the first lead of more than two points for either team for the first time all night at 24-20 with 6:40 showing on the clock. Lo closed the gap to one with a three-pointer before Rosenberg sank 1-of-2 free throws.

Again the Green went up four on a long Mitola jumper only to have Rosenberg convert a four-point play. Golden put Dartmouth back on top with a short turnaround jumper, but when Jeff Coby missed the second of his two free throws with 43 seconds left, he rebounded his own miss and laid it in, giving the Lions their first lead in over 10 minutes. The Big Green could not convert at the other end before the buzzer to trail by one at the break, 31-30.

In the second half, Boehm briefly put Dartmouth back on top with a pair of free throws, but Lo drilled a three-pointer for the Lions. Melville came right back with a pull-up jumper to tie the score at 34, but the Big Green offense went cold for the next nine minutes during which they could muster just a single field goal. Columbia, meanwhile, hit seven of its next 11 field goals, including three-pointers by Cory Osetkowski and Steve Frankoski during the 17-4 run for a 13-point lead at 51-38.

The Dartmouth defense clamped down, allowing its offense to claw its way back within six. Troubles at the free throw line kept the Big Green from drawing closer as the team continuously would hit just the first of two foul shots. It did help on one occasion when Golden misfired on his second attempt and senior Tyler Melville, who tallied 11 points on the night, streaked in from the outside for the putback with 9:13 to go. When Boehm drove for a layup with 6:40 on the clock, the Lion lead was down to 51-45.

But Lo and Rosenberg would not allow Dartmouth to close the gap further, even though freshman Eli Harrison drained two three-pointers in the last minute of play. Lo provided two layups, and the duo went 12-of-12 at the line the rest of the way, including 10-of-10 during the final minute. Columbia, the Ivy League’s top free throw shooting team, ended the game sinking 84.6 percent (22-of-26) of its foul shots, compared to just 58.3 percent (14-of-24) for Dartmouth.

The two sides battled to a draw on the boards with each side grabbing 30 rebounds. Crescenzi led the Big Green efforts with seven caroms to equal a personal best, and Osetkowski had six rebounds for the Lions.

Dartmouth will get back on the road next weekend to play at Princeton (14-7, 2-5 Ivy) and Penn (6-15, 3-4 Ivy), two teams looking to avenge losses in Hanover back on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The Big Green tip off at Princeton on Friday at 7 p.m., and at the same time the following night against the Quakers.

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