The evening started well for the Big Green as they jumped out to an early 11-1 lead after nearly eight minutes of play. Senior David Rufful started the scoring with a three-pointer, then freshman Gabas Maldunas chipped in a pair of lefty hooks driving to the hole. After Princeton’s Ian Hummer converted 1-of-2 at the line, Rufful knocked down a 15-footer and Brooks scored with a putback.
The Tigers started clawing back and had halved the deficit to five at 13-8 on a T.J. Bray three-pointer with just under 10 minutes to go in the half. The lead remained between four and seven points for nearly six minutes until Patrick Saunders buried a three to make it a 19-17 game.
Still Dartmouth was able to withstand Princeton’s gradual rally as junior Matt LaBove and freshman John Golden, who led the Big Green with 12 points on the night, each scored on layups for a 23-18 lead with 2:55 on the clock. But Davis gave a sneak peek at what was to come in the second half when he drained a long jumper and a three-pointer on consecutive possessions to knot the score at 23. Golden put Dartmouth back on top with another layup, and the Green took that 25-23 lead into the locker room.
The Dartmouth defense held the Tigers to a woeful 28.6 percent shooting (8-of-28) in the opening half and bested them on the boards as well, 24-18, with Brooks grabbing 10 himself.
In the second stanza, Princeton turned the tables on the Big Green, bolting out on a 14-2 run over the first seven-plus minutes with Davis leading the charge with a pair of three-pointers. Golden started a modest 7-2 spurt with a three-pointer with Golden and sophomore Tyler Melville contributing layups to get the Green back within five at 39-34.
After the two teams traded buckets, however, Davis drilled back-to-back triples, and suddenly the Tigers owned an 11-point advantage, 47-36. Dartmouth never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Brooks, who got his final points on a reverse layup with 1:47 left in the game to register his double-double, finished the game 5-of-8 from the floor and 1-of-2 at the line. Golden tallied his dozen points on 4-of-7 shooting with a trey and 3-of-5 at the charity stripe. The Big Green were credited with just five assists for their 19 field goals, with all five going to Maldunas, a season high for the power forward.
Neither team cracked 40 percent from the floor, and Dartmouth held the Tigers’ leading scorer, Ian Hummer, to 0-for-11 shooting and just four points, though he did lead Princeton with eight rebounds. Brendan Connolly came off the bench to pick up the slack with 10 points in only 15 minutes of action due to foul trouble.
Dartmouth heads to Philadelphia tomorrow for a game against Penn (12-11, 4-2 Ivy) at the fabled Palestra at 7 p.m. Princeton hosts 21st-ranked Harvard (21-2, 7-0) with the aim of keeping its slim title hopes alive at 7 p.m.