NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Sophomore Tyler Melville hoisted a season-high 14 points, but Dartmouth (4-16, 0-4 Ivy) had difficulty scoring in the final nine minutes of each half as Yale rallied to defeat the Big Green on Saturday night at John J. Lee Amphitheater, 62-52. Reggie Willhite led the host Bulldogs (13-5, 3-1 Ivy) with 16 points as Yale bounced back from a 30-point loss to nationally ranked Harvard last night.
Melville knocked down 6-of-13 from the floor including a three-pointer in leading the Dartmouth offense. But as a team, the Big Green connected on just 21-of-61 (.344) field goals and was 4-of-16 (.250) behind the arc.
Yale, meanwhile, clipped the nets at a 46.2 percent rate (20-of-44) while nailing 6-of-13 (.462) three-pointers. The 10-point difference in the score was determined at the foul line, however, with the Bulldogs sinking 16-of-24 while Dartmouth had just six free throws in nine attempts.
The Big Green led for much of the first half and even rallied in the second stanza to hold a 47-46 advantage with 7:37 to play following a layup by freshman John Golden, the last of his nine points on the night. But the Bulldogs went on an 13-2 run over the next seven minutes to take a commanding 10-point lead with less than a minute remaining. Yale converted its final six free throws to seal the win.
The Big Green came out of the gates with terrific energy, controlling just about every aspect of the first 11 minutes. Freshman Jvonte Brooks scored the first points of the night with a putback, and a 6-0 spurt four minutes later with Melville providing a pair of baskets had the Green in front, 10-3. Yale scored on three straight possessions for its own six-point run, and after Golden tallied three the hard way, Isaiah Salafia came off the bench to knock down a triple to keep the Bulldogs within one, 13-12.
In less than three minutes, Dartmouth opened up an eight-point lead thanks to four points from junior Matt LaBove, a three-point play by Melville and a three from the right wing by senior Kirk Crecco with 9:19 on the clock. The points dried up for the rest of the half, however, as the Bulldogs held the Green to one field goal and a single free throw. The Yale offense, meanwhile, got untracked as leading scorer Greg Mangano and Michael Grace hit back-to-back threes, cutting the gap to two, 23-21.
A layup by Mangano drew the Bulldogs even, and two minutes later Matt Townsend sank a 15-footer with 5:31 left in the half to give Yale its first lead of the game. Dartmouth still trailed by two with just over a minute on the clock when Willhite converted a three-point play and Mangano sank two free throws, boosting the Bulldog bulge to seven points at the break, 33-26.
When play resumed, the Dartmouth defense stepped up and held Yale to two free throws and zero field goals for the first seven-and-a-half minutes. At the other of the court, the Green gradually chipped away at the deficit. A Melville triple brought Dartmouth within three, and after nearly three minutes of scoreless action, junior Matt Labove slammed home two more points for the Big Green, whittling the Bulldog lead to two.
Brooks converted 1-of-2 at the charity stripe before senior David Rufful stopped and popped a 10-footer to put Dartmouth back on top, 36-35. When senior Jabari Trotter rained in a three-pointer on the next possession, the Big Green were rolling with a four-point lead.
Yale scored the next two buckets before Golden and Yale’s Jeremiah Kreisberg traded hoops leaving the score tied at 41. Trotter came through again with another three-pointer for Dartmouth, but Willhite went on to score each of the Bulldogs’ next nine points while the Big Green managed just that Golden layup for the brief 47-46 lead.
Dartmouth forced 19 Yale turnovers in the game, but the Bulldogs had the edge on the boards, 37-31, with Mangano hauling in a game-high 10 rebounds and Willhite nine more. Brooks led the Big Green with eight rebounds as well as four assists.
The Big Green return home next Friday to host Columbia (12-8, 1-3 Ivy) at Leede Arena at 7 p.m. Yale will entertain Penn on Friday at 7 p.m.