HANOVER, N.H. — Sophomore Alex Mitola scored a career-high 33 points with eight three-pointers and classmate Kevin Crescenzi added a personal-best 17 points to lead Dartmouth to an 87-78 victory over visiting Cornell on Saturday night at Leede Arena, ending the Big Green’s seven-game skid. Dartmouth (10-16, 3-9 Ivy) reached 10 victories for the first time since the 2007-08 season and won the final home game for its lone senior, Tyler Melville, who scored 10.
Cornell (2-24, 1-11 Ivy) got 23 points from Dwight Tarwater and 22 more from Devin Cherry, but they could not keep pace with Mitola’s hot hand behind the arc.
The 5-11 guard from Florham Park, N.J., scored the most points by a Big Green player in over 13 years, thanks to drilling 8-of-9 three-pointers and going 10-of-16 overall with five free throws in six attempts. He fell one trifecta shy of tying the Dartmouth single-game record, set by Greg Buth ’01 against Albany on Jan. 20, 2001. Crescenzi, meanwhile, was 6-of-11 from the floor with a pair of triples as Dartmouth shot exactly 50 percent as a team (27-of-54) and 60 percent from long range (12-of-20).
Long-distance shooting proved to be the difference as Cornell also hit 50 percent from the floor (26-of-52) and matched Dartmouth’s 21-of-26 (.808) performance at the line. But after hitting their first three three-point attempts, the Big Red managed just two more on the night, going 5-of-20 (.250).
The beginning of the game was like dueling banjos, just with three-point shots back and forth. The Big Green came out of the gate with three consecutive trifectas, two by Mitola and the other by Melville, while Cornell hit its first six shots with three from downtown to take a 15-9 lead after just six minutes.
|Kevin Crescenzi carved up the Cornell defense to score a career-high 17 points.|
Crescenzi started and ended a 12-3 Dartmouth spurt with baskets on each end of it as the Big Red went cold for the next six minutes. Mitola added his third three and sophomore Matt Rennie provided a three-point play the hard way for a 21-18 advantage. That lead was wiped out by four straight Cornell foul shots, but Crescenzi answered with his first trey to put the Green back on top.
The two teams battled back and forth as Ned Tomic scored the last 10 points of the half for Cornell. His layup with 3:04 on the clock gave the Big Red a brief 28-26 lead, which was erased moments later by a short jumper in the paint by sophomore Connor Boehm, who finished with 11 points and a game-high seven rebounds. The next time down the court, Melville gave Dartmouth a lead it would not relinquish, getting the ball down low and powering up for the hoop and the harm. Crescenzi sank his other three of the night and Rennie finished the half with a pair of free throws to send the Green into the locker room with a 36-30 edge.
While Mitola led Dartmouth at the half with 11 points, he broke loose in the second stanza with five of his three-pointers and 22 points. He began the half with one of those bombs, then dropped in a floater in the lane on the break to give the Big Green their first double-digit lead of the night, 41-30, and causing Cornell to call a quick timeout.
Another Mitola three-ball had Dartmouth up 12, 44-32, but the Big Red battled back with a nine-point run to cut the deficit to three. Boehm interrupted the run with a layup off a feed from Rennie, and after Cornell’s Darryl Smith drained a jumper, Melville answered right back with a 17-footer, Rennie hit a free throw and Mitola hit his sixth three-pointer to give the Big Green some breathing room at 52-43 with 12:42 to play.
Mitola scored the next five Dartmouth points as well with a layup and his seventh trifecta, then decided to help out Boehm and set him up for a three-pointer of his own.
After Cornell hit its first three shots from the perimeter, it missed 11 straight until Tarwater popped one with nine minutes to go to keep the Big Red within 10 at 62-52. Yet one last time, Mitola rained down a triple and Dartmouth led by at least 11 until Cressler laid one in with just over four minutes to play to make it a 76-66 game.
Cornell then turned to Cherry, who scored the next nine points, and even closed the gap to six with 40 ticks remaining. But the Big Green converted nine of their last 10 free throws to seal the victory.
Melville added a game-high five assists to go with his 10 points before being relieved with 12 seconds to play, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd of 757.
Dartmouth finishes up its season on the road at Brown (15-11, 7-5 Ivy) and Yale (15-11, 9-3 Ivy) on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Both games tip off at 7 p.m. Cornell returns home to complete it's campaign, hosting Princeton (17-8, 5-6 Ivy) and Penn (7-18, 4-7 Ivy) on those dates as well.
Notes: Alex Barnett ’09 was the last Big Green player to score 30 points, hitting the mark exactly in an overtime win at Harvard on Jan. 24, 2009 … the last Dartmouth player with 33 points was Buth, in the game in which he drilled nine three-pointers against Albany in 2001 … the 12 three-pointers are the most for the Green since dropping a dozen in consecutive games against Army and Albany in December of 2011.