NEW YORK, N.Y. — Senior guard Ronnie Dixon scored 14 points in his first game in two months and freshman Tyler Melville tallied a career-high 20, but Dartmouth could not keep host Columbia off the glass enough to knock off the Lions on Friday night in a 67-60 loss. Noruwa Agho led Columbia (14-9, 5-4 Ivy) with 19 points while Ansenso Ampim posted a double-double to send the Big Green (5-18, 1-8 Ivy) to their sixth straight defeat.
The Lions made up for a poor shooting performance (23-of-69, 33.3 percent) by crashing the boards for 49 rebounds, 22 coming at the offensive end. They also held Dartmouth to a mere three caroms at the offensive end to outscore the Green on second-chance opportunities, 25-1.
Eight minutes into the second half, Columbia was in command of the game with a 49-30 after an 11-point spurt that spanned less than 90 seconds. Matt Johnson started the run with a three-pointer, Brian Barbour dropped a pair of free throws, Agho had layups on consecutive possessions and Ampim brought the crowd to their feet with a thunderous dunk.
But Dartmouth was not phased and gradually worked its way back into the game. Dixon broke the run with a three-pointer — the first for the Big Green all night — and freshman Nick Jackson followed up with another triple. A Melville bucket capped the eight-point stretch to bring Dartmouth back within 11.
The lead was still 11 with 6:47 to play when Agho hit the first of two free throws, 56-45, but Dixon hit a tough jumper from the left wing and sophomore R.J. Griffin added three free throws to cut it to six, the closest Dartmouth had been in over 20 minutes. Barbour then rained in a three-pointer, only to have Griffin quickly drive for a layup then sink two more free throws, making it 59-54 with 2:18 to play.
Columbia put the game away on the next two possessions, however, as Agho hit a layup and Johnson provided the dagger three-pointer to boost the lead back to 10 with a minute left. Melville drove for two layups in the final minute, but Meiko Lyles converted 3-of-4 at the charity stripe to fend off any wild comeback.
Columbia opened up a nine-point lead at the break thanks in large part to its work on the glass. The Lions hauled in 26 rebounds — twice as many as Dartmouth — 12 of which came at the offensive end, leading to 17 second-chance points. The Big Green, on the other hand, did not have even a single offensive rebound, compounding their shooting woes at 39.1 percent (9-of-24) for the half.
Dartmouth took an early 12-9 lead as Melville had a trio of buckets and dished off for another. Another Big Green basket came courtesy of Dixon, who returned to the court after missing nearly two months with a broken hand.
But the Lions strung together the next nine points, beginning with a rare three-pointer by Asenso Ampim, just his second of the season. Putbacks ruled the court for the next two minutes as Max Craig provided one and Meiko Lyles two more to give Columbia a six-point edge.
The Lion lead was still five with five minutes left until the intermission when Craig was fed right under the hoop on consecutive possessions for a pair of easy buckets. When Ampim knocked down two free throws, Columbia enjoyed its largest lead of the opening frame, 31-20. Melville provided the final four points of the half for the Green with a pair of foul shots and a jumper, countering a layup by Agho.
The Big Green finished the night shooting 42 percent (21-of-50) from the floor and 84.2 percent (16-of-19) from the line, but managed just 2-of-13 (.154) behind the arc. Dixon, who was 6-of-9 from the floor, led all Dartmouth players with six rebounds, Melville had four of the team’s six assists and Griffin was the third Green player in double figures with 10 points, eight coming at the free throw line.
Ampim finished the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his double-double. Agho narrowly missed out on a double-double himself with nine rebounds plus had five assists, and Lyles chipped in 11 points on the night.
Dartmouth continues its time in the state of New York tomorrow evening in Ithaca to take on Cornell (6-17, 2-7 Ivy) at 7 p.m. Columbia plays host to second-place Harvard (19-4, 8-1 Ivy) on Saturday night, also at 7 p.m.
|Dixon’s Return Not Enough in 67-60 Loss at Columbia|