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Big Green Pick Up Ivy Win on the Road at Columbia

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Connor Boehm led the Big Green with 20 points.     By David Silverman(

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Freshmen Connor Boehm and Alex Mitola scored 20 and 17 points, respectively, and junior Tyler Melville added 15 to lead Dartmouth to a 60-57 victory at Columbia on Friday evening. The trio hit 20-of-31 field goals to help Dartmouth (6-13, 2-3 Ivy) end a 24-game road losing streak in Ivy play dating back to 2009. The host Lions (9-10, 1-4 Ivy) got 16 points and nine rebounds from Mark Cisco in the losing effort.

For the fourth time in the last five games, the Big Green hit at least half of their shots, canning 23-of-45 (.511), including 7-of-15 (.467) from three-point range. Boehm was 9-of-14 with a pair of free throws for his second career 20-point game, while Mitola drilled 6-of-9 overall and 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Melville was 5-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 on three-pointers, plus hit two key free throws with 31.5 seconds to play to boost the lead to three points.

Dartmouth owned a three-point lead at the half, 29-26, then quickly boosted the advantage to 11 at 40-29 with Melville scoring seven of the 11 Big Green points and assisting on a layup by sophomore John Golden. But after the 6-2 Melville softly kissed a layup high off the glass over Cisco, Columbia’s center, the Lions went on a 14-2 run fueled by three consecutive three-pointers to take a 43-42 lead. Those would be the only triples that Columbia would score all night.

Boehm snapped the spurt with back-to-back 12-foot baseline jumpers to put the Big Green back on top, 46-43 with seven minutes to play. The two teams traded three-point plays, giving Boehm the last nine Dartmouth points. When Maodo Lo hit a short jumper in the lane to cut the Lion deficit back to one, Mitola rained in a three-pointer, ending Boehm’s scoring streak that lasted nearly 11 minutes and making it a 52-48 game.

Cisco tied the game with a three-point play and another free throw before John Daniels emphatically gave Columbia a 54-52 lead with a dunk. Mitola then took over, sinking the first of two free throws with the second being negated by a lane violation. It turned out not to matter as he drove the lane for a layup and the lead, stole the ball back and swished a three-pointer for a 58-54 lead with a minute remaining.

Alex Rosenberg sank 1-of-2 free throws for Columbia, then forced a turnover by Mitola on which Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier was clamoring for a foul. Two more Lion free throws made it a one-point game before Melville hit his clutch free throws. Columbia took two shots at tying the game, but both three-point attempts were off the mark to give the Big Green the victory.

“It was great to see some kids step up,” Cormier said after the game. “Tyler hit two humongous free throws and that made a world of difference. Alex and Connor both made some unbelievable plays down the stretch. We’ve been in position to win some games, but we haven’t been good enough offensively to answer. Fortunately, we’re starting to get that, and though we still have a lot of work to do, we’re heading in the right direction.”

The game began as a back-and-forth affair with a whopping 20 lead changes. Neither team led by more than two points until the final minute of the half. Cisco scored the first five Lion points, but a Golden free throw and buckets in the paint by Mitola, Boehm and sophomore Gabas Maldunas had Dartmouth leading 7-5 in the first four minutes.

Columbia then countered with consecutive baskets — the first of just two instances in the initial 20 minutes — to take the lead. Nearly five minutes later, the Lions were still up by two when Melville drained the first three-pointer of the night for a 15-14 Big Green advantage. The next two Dartmouth buckets were also three-pointers, one from Mitola and another from Melville, but the lead continued to change hands until Mitola canned another triple in the final minute of the stanza.

The Dartmouth defense held Columbia to 40 percent shooting (22-of-55) and just 15 percent (3-of-20) from behind the arc. The Lions missed each of their first 13 three-point attempts before knocking down three in a row in the second half. But with 16 offensive rebounds that led to an 18-6 advantage in second-chance points, and 18 points off of 13 Big Green turnovers, Columbia managed to keep the score close.

Boehm not only led Dartmouth in scoring, but also on the glass with seven of the team’s 26 rebounds while sophomore Jvonte Brooks came off the bench to match a career high with four assists.

Winter storm Nemo has caused the delay of the usual Saturday games for both teams with Dartmouth traveling to Ithaca, N.Y., to take on Cornell (10-12, 2-3 Ivy) on Sunday at noon. Columbia will host league-leading Harvard (13-6, 5-0 Ivy) on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Notes: The last Dartmouth Ivy road win came on Feb. 21, 2009 in a 66-63 triumph at Princeton … the Big Green also won at Penn that weekend, the last time Dartmouth had won consecutive games; the Big Green beat Yale their last time on the court, 71-62 … after shooting 38.1 percent in 14 non-conference games, Dartmouth has hit 48.2 percent in Ivy contests, the third-best mark in the league.