HANOVER, N.H. — HANOVER, N.H. — Freshman Gabas Maldunas scored a career-high 23 points and hauled in 11 rebounds, but Yale’s Greg Mangano countered with 16 points and 15 boards to help the Bulldogs stave off a late Dartmouth rally to beat the Big Green at Leede Arena on Friday night, 70-61. Yale (17-6, 7-2 Ivy) converted 30-of-33 free throws to remain one game behind Harvard in the race for the Ivy League crown. Dartmouth (4-21, 0-9 Ivy) also got 14 points from reigning Ivy Rookie of the Week Jvonte Brooks, but suffered its 20th consecutive loss in league play.
Mangano, the conference scoring and rebounding leader, was joined in double figures by three teammates — Austin Morgan with 17 points, Reggie Willhite with 13 and Jeremiah Kreisberg with 11. Morgan did most of his damage at the charity stripe, sinking all 12 of his foul shots, while Willhite just missed out on a double-double of his own with nine rebounds. The Bulldogs bested the Big Green on the glass, 39-31.
Even with Yale’s 6-10 twin towers in the Mangano and Kreisberg, Maldunas went right to the rim time and time again, hitting 8-of-18 field goals as Dartmouth focused on scoring in the paint where it tallied 34 of its points. The Green failed, however, to knock down a single three-pointer in five attempts, their first game without one since an 0-for-7 effort on Feb. 12, 2010 at Brown.
Yale was enjoying a 15-point lead with nine minutes to play after Kreisberg scored on two straight possessions with a breakaway dunk and a layup. But over the next 80 seconds, Maldunas scored the six straight points with four free throws and a hook shot in the lane, and a full-court press produced a steal and two-hand slam for freshman John Golden suddenly brought Dartmouth within seven at 51-44.
The Bulldogs maintained at least a seven-point edge for nearly four minutes before sophomore point guard Tyler Melville drove right down the lane and kissed a layup off the glass over Mangano to cut the deficit to six before Brooks canned two free throws with 2:43 on the clock to make it a four-point game, 60-56. That would be as close as the Big Green would get, though, as Yale simply would not miss at the line, dropping each of its last 10 free throws through the hoop in the final two minutes.
The game began with Dartmouth as the aggressor with Maldunas scoring the first four points of the game. Maldunas continued to be the Big Green offense for the first 10 minutes of the game with all 10 points, but Yale held a 15-10 lead on the strength of an eight-point run fueled by Mangano, Willhite and Kreisberg.
Senior Kirk Crecco was the second Big Green player to score, popping a short jumper in the lane with 9:38 left in the half, then Brooks got into the act with a layup to cut the lead to one. After the two sides traded baskets, junior R.J. Griffin answered a Yale triple with a leaning layup, and Crecco laid another one in following to Bulldog free throws.
When Morgan zipped down the court and took it to the hole himself with 3:54 left in the opening half, Yale would never let its lead fall below four points the rest of the night.
Dartmouth had a slight advantage shooting from the floor, hitting 23-of-57 (.404) compared to 19-of-49 (.388) for Yale. Although the Big Green did not have a three-pointer, the Bulldogs managed just two in 15 tries (.133).
Tomorrow night at 7 p.m., Dartmouth will look to snap its skid when it hosts Brown (7-19, 1-8 Ivy), which fell by 27 points to league-leading Harvard tonight. The Bears bested the Big Green in Providence last month by seven points, 66-59. Yale travels to Cambridge, Mass., for a make-or-break game against the Crimson (22-3, 8-1 Ivy), which tips at 7 p.m. as well.