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Courtesy: Mark Washburn
The seniors (l-r): Jabari Trotter, David Rufful, Kirk Crecco

Final Home Games This Weekend Against Penn, Princeton

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 02/22/2012
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The Games: Dartmouth (5-21, 1-9) vs. Penn (15-11, 7-2)/Princeton (15-10, 6-3)
Location: Leede Arena (2,100), Hanover, N.H.
Tipoff: Friday, February 24 at 7 p.m. / Saturday, February 25 at 7 p.m.
Series Record vs. Penn: Quakers lead, 146-56
Series Record vs. Princeton: Tigers lead, 141-61
Live Audio, Video - Dave Collins, play-by-play
Live Stats
Complete Game Notes

Spoiler Alert
•    Dartmouth’s final two home games of the 2011-12 season come against a pair of teams that hold on to hopes of any Ivy title in Penn and Princeton.
•    Before the game against the Tigers, the three seniors in the Class of 2012 — Kirk Crecco, David Rufful and Jabari Trotter — will be recognized at their final home game.
•    The Big Green faced both teams just two weeks ago, seeing a small lead at the half disappear at Princeton and falling on a three-pointer in the final seconds at Penn.
•    Dartmouth just snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 58-53 victory over Brown last Saturday, just its second win in 12 games decided by seven points or less.
•    Sophomore Tyler Melville posted a season-high 15 points to help the Green subdue the Bears, and junior R.J. Griffin came off the bench to score 13, including a game-tying three and the go-ahead free throws in the final few minutes.
•    Dartmouth is led by a pair of freshmen in Gabas Maldunas and Jvonte Brooks. Maldunas was just named the Ivy Rookie of the Week for the fourth time after averaging a double-double against Yale and Brown, including a 23-point, 11-rebound performance versus the Bulldogs.
•    Brooks has earned the rookie award three times himself, and the duo are tied for the team lead in scoring at 9.0 points per game. They are also among the top seven rebounders in the league.

Series vs. Penn
•    This is the 203rd game in the series that dates back to 1905. The Quakers have a sizable advantage at 145-57.
• Two weeks ago, Zack Rosen hit a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds left, lifting Penn to a 58-55 victory at The Palestra.
•    While Penn has won the last five meetings, Dartmouth pulled off a season sweep of the Quakers three years ago, the first for the Green in 50 years.
•    Head coach Paul Cormier is 4-13 against Penn in his collegiate coaching career.
•    Since winning four of the first five contests versus Penn in Leede Arena, Dartmouth has won just two of 18 in this building for a 6-19 record.

Scouting the Quakers
•    Entering the weekend, Penn sits all alone in second place and a showdown with Harvard lurking on Saturday night for a chance to draw even in the loss column with the Crimson.
•    The Quakers are coming off a four-game homestand in which they lost to Harvard by six and won the other three games by a total of 11 points with one going to overtime against Columbia.
•    Penn relies heavily on a quartet of players, each of whom average over 30 minutes on the court, but one of which may not be available due to injury.
•    Leading the squad is senior point guard Zack Rosen, a Bob Cousy Award nominee, who averages 18.1 ppg and close to six assists a night.
•    The Quakers may not have Tyler Bernardini and his 13.7 ppg due to an injury. The guard is leading the team in three-point percentage (.427) and rebounding (5.0 rpg).
•    Miles Cartwright (10.5 ppg) and Rob Belcore (6.7) are the others playing at least 30 minutes.
•    Each of the four players are shooting at least 70 percent at the line as well, with Rosen topping the squad at 88.1 percent.
•    Head coach Jerome Allen (Penn ’09) played for the Quakers from 1991-95 and became the head coach on Dec. 14, 2009, taking over the program in the midst of a season that featured just six wins.

Series vs. Princeton
•    Like the Penn series, Dartmouth has squared off against the Tigers 202 times previously with Princeton holding a 141-61 lead.
•    Princeton has won the past five meetings, the most recent being a 59-47 victory two weeks ago at Jadwin Gym as Douglas Davis poured in 20 points for the host Tigers.
•    Big Green head coach Paul Cormier is 4-13 versus the Tigers during his collegiate coaching career.
•    Dartmouth is 8-16 against the Tigers in Leede Arena since the venue opened in the fall of 1987.
•    The first game between the two schools on the hardwood was a 37-8 Big Green victory on the Princeton campus on Dec. 12, 1905.

Scouting the Tigers
•    Princeton won all four games during its most recent homestand and has the distinction of being the only Ivy team to beat Harvard this year, besting the Crimson two weeks ago, 70-62.
•    On the road in the league, however, the Tigers have been rather beatable with a 2-3 mark and losses at Cornell, Penn and Yale.
•    The unquestionable leaders of the team are forward Ian Hummer and guard Douglas Davis, although Hummer — Princeton’s leading scorer — failed to hit any of his 11 field goal attempts in the first game between these two teams.
•    Hummer leads the team in scoring (16.5 ppg), rebounding (7.5 rpg) and blocked shots (27), while Davis adds 13.3 ppg thanks to 64 three-pointers at a 39.8 percent clip.
•    Sophomore T.J. Bray, does a bit of everything, leading the team in assists (94), steals (41) and three-point percentage (.447) while ranking second in rebounding (4.5 rpg).
•    Head coach Mitch Henderson (Princeton ’98) returned to his alma mater this past off-season to take on the head coaching duties. A four-year starter for the Tigers, Henderson spent 11 seasons as an assistant at Northwestern.

In Search of a Good Streak
Dartmouth has an opportunity on Friday to do something it has not accomplished in three years — win back-to-back games. Back in December the Big Green came close after beating Elon on Dec. 17, but Colgate was able to overcome a three-point deficit in the final four seconds and went on to win in overtime. The last time Dartmouth won consecutive games was at Penn and Princeton on Feb. 20-21, 2009 — coincidentally the only time it has defeated both schools on the road in one weekend.

Maldunas Making His Mark
On Feb. 20, freshman Gabas Maldunas was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season. He earned the award for his season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds against Yale, followed by eight points and nine boards in a win over Brown. If he holds true to form, he will also get the award after the final two games, for he has received the honor once in each month of the season.

Free Throw Facts
•    In Ivy games, Dartmouth ranks third in the league with a 74.3 free throw percentage.
•    The overall percentage (.709) at the foul line is the third highest of the past 23 seasons.
•    Sophomore Tyler Melville had made 18 straight free throws over nearly two months until he misfired on his last attempt against Brown. The longest current streak is held by rookie Jvonte Brooks who has made 12 in a row.
•    Brooks is second in the Ivy League with 99 free throws made, a Dartmouth freshman record. While a Big Green player has converted at least 100 foul shots in a season 33 times throughout the years, only one has done so in the 21st century — Alex Barnett ’09 with exactly 100 in 2008-09.

No Place Like Home
Apparently junior R.J. Griffin has come to love shooting at Leede Arena. In 11 home games this season, the guard is shooting a sizzling 51.4 percent (19-of-37) from behind the three-point arc, including his most recent 3-for-4 night in the win over Brown. Perhaps it’s the new lighting in the arena, for last year he struggled on the home hardwood at just 25.6 percent (10-of-39). Of course, it is most likely due to the small sample size for all you math geeks out there (like me) since he was 8-for-18 (.444) as a freshman, making him 37-of-94 (.394) for his career.

Rugged Rufful
Senior David Rufful has been Mr. Blue Collar for the Big Green during his four years at Dartmouth, not missing a single game in that span. Entering the weekend, he has played in 110 games, already a school record. His classmate, Jabari Trotter, has been pretty resilient as well, seeing action in 108 of the 110 games himself.

What Does Brown Do For Cormier?
It seems that playing Brown gets head coach Paul Cormier riled up. Since returning to Hanover last year, he has coached 54 games and received a grand total of three technical fouls. The first came last year at Brown during a loss, the most recent on Feb. 18 in the 58-53 win over the Bears. Just call him the Grizzly Bear …

Turnabout is Fair Play
When Dartmouth traveled to Brown in January,  the Big Green were either tied or in the lead for 33 minutes and 33 seconds only to have the Bears rally late for the win. Fast forward four weeks to Feb. 18 and Brown was either tied or in the lead for 34 minutes and 23 seconds in Leede Arena, but Dartmouth pulled ahead for good in the final two minutes for a 58-53 triumph.

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