HANOVER, N.H. — Cornell raced out to a 10-0 lead after 82 seconds, then fended off every Dartmouth run before pulling away in the final minute to defeat the host Big Green on Saturday night at Leede Arena, 68-59. Shonn Miller boasted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Big Red (8-12, 3-3 Ivy), while Dartmouth (4-18, 0-6 Ivy) were led by senior Kirk Crecco and his season-high 15 points off the bench.
The Big Green won the opening tap, but turned it over on each of their first three possessions. Cornell took advantage each time with buckets from Johnathan Gray, Miller and Chris Wroblewski, forcing Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier burn a timeout. Wroblewski finished a three-point play after the timeout, and when the Green misfired on its first shot, Drew Ferry buried a three-pointer seconds later for a 10-0 lead and just 1:22 gone from the clock.
While senior Jabari Trotter ended the opening run with a layup, Dartmouth leaned on his classmate, Kirk Crecco, for offense. Crecco scored 11 of the next 12 Big Green points. When freshman Gabas Maldunas sank 1-of-2 at the foul line, Dartmouth found itself within two at 17-15.
After a Gray three-pointer and a free throw by Dwight Tarwater, freshman John Golden converted two free throws to make it a 21-17 game. Miller took over for a span of 1:43, tallying eight straight points — the last coming on a two-hand slam — to extend the Cornell lead from four to 12, its largest of the night.
Three-pointers by Golden and junior R.J. Griffin in the final three minutes of the opening half helped Dartmouth close the gap to seven by the break at 33-26. The big difference came off of turnovers; although the Big Green coughed the ball up just two more times than Cornell, 8-6, the Big Red converted those turnovers into 16 points to just four for Dartmouth.
Miller had 14 of his 15 points on the night during the first half. After intermission, the Big Green kept him under wraps as he did not even attempt a field goal and was just 1-of-2 at the line. Crecco, meanwhile, nearly doubled his season-high entering the game (six points) with 11 during the first 20 minutes of action.
A Cornell free throw started the scoring in the second stanza before Trotter drilled his 100th career three-pointer, making him the 14th player in Dartmouth to hit the century mark from outside the arc. Maldunas, who finished the night with 10 points, provided back-to-back buckets to cut an eight-point deficit in half at 37-33, only to have the Big Red run off seven straight points to boost their lead back to 11.
Five points here for Dartmouth, four points there for Cornell, six points again for the Big Green and the yo-yoing lead bounced from six to 10 down to four with 8:22 to go at 48-44. Eitan Chemerinski converted 1-of-2 at the charity stripe before Maldunas laid another one through the hoop to whittle the deficit to three, 49-46, with 6:21 remaining in the game.
Again the lead oscillated between four and seven points for the next four minutes. Two free throws and a layup by freshman Jvonte Brooks, however, brought the Big Green within two at 59-57 with just 1:42 left to play. But Wroblewski and Gray calmly knocked down eight straight free throws between them as Dartmouth turned it over once and misfired from the floor twice to put the game out of reach.
Dartmouth was held to just 19-of-54 (.352) from the floor with just three three-pointers in 17 attempts (.176), but did knock down 18-of-24 (.750) at the foul line. Cornell was just a bit better in nearly every statistical category, though, shooting 22-of-53 (.415) on field goals and 5-of-19 (.263) on three-pointers. While its free throw percentage was lower at 70.4 percent, it did hit one more free throw with 19 singles in 27 tries.
The Big Red also enjoyed a 40-35 advantage on the boards, led by Miller’s 10 while Tarwater came off the pine to snare nine in 18 minutes. Brooks led Dartmouth with eight caroms.
Joining Miller in double figures for Cornell were Wroblewski with 14 points — half coming at the line — and Gray with 13.
Next up for Dartmouth are road games at Princeton (11-10, 2-3 Ivy) and Penn (12-10, 4-1 Ivy) on Friday and Saturday, respectively, with each game tipping off at 7 p.m. The Big Red will host Yale and Brown next weekend.