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Mitola's Big Night for Naught in 78-67 Loss at Yale

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Freshman Alex Mitola     By Doug Austin
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NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Freshman Alex Mitola drained seven three-pointers and scored a career-high 27 points for visiting Dartmouth on Friday night, but Yale scored 50 points in the second half to pull away from the Big Green at Lee Amphitheater and avenge its loss in Hanover three weeks ago, 78-67.

Three reserves scored in double figures for Yale (11-15, 5-4 Ivy), led by Michael Grace and Sam Martin with 12 points apiece as the duo answered Mitola’s outside shooting prowess by combining to connect on 6-of-7 from deep. Brandon Sherrod added 11 as the bench scored 48 of the Bulldogs’ points on the evening. Justin Sears led Yale’s dominating effort on the glass with eight rebounds. The Bulldogs as a team snared 40 boards to just 26 for Dartmouth (6-17, 2-7 Ivy).

Although the Big Green lost their fourth straight contest, the 5-11 Mitola enjoyed the finest shooting night of his young career, draining 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, five coming in the first half alone. His three-pointers and point total are the highest for Dartmouth since R.J. Griffin scored 29 with seven triples last year in a victory over Bryant. As a team, Dartmouth had 19 field goals, 11 from three-point range, matching a season high.

Junior Tyler Melville was the only other Big Green player to score in double figures with 11, surpassing 500 career points in the process. On the boards, sophomore Gabas Maldunas equaled a career high with 13 rebounds — half of the Big Green total — plus blocked a career-best six shots.

After freshman Brandon McDonnell sophomore John Golden scored the first five Big Green points of the game on a layup and a three-pointer, respectively, Mitola kept Dartmouth in the game by scoring nine of the next 10 points with a trio of triples. His second trey gave the Green an early 11-4 lead before Yale went on a 10-1 run ­— capped by a Martin trifecta — to take the lead.

Mitola immediately answered Martin’s bomb with one of his own to briefly reclaim the lead, but a nine-point Bulldog spurt had Yale ahead, 23-15. Melville ended the run with a three-pointer, then Mitola swished two more three-pointers for a 9-0 Big Green to go back on top by one.

Again the lead did not last long as Armani Cotton scored on a putback, then canned a three from the corner with just under a minute left in the half. Mitola cut the Dartmouth deficit in half in the final seconds with a teardrop in the lane, leaving the Big Green down two at the break, 28-26.

Dartmouth had just nine field goals in the opening half, but seven came from downtown. Mitola had 17 of the squad’s 26 points, going 6-of-8 from the floor and 5-of-7 from three-point range. No Bulldog had more than six points, but eight different players scored.

Scoring was scarce at the outset of the second stanza, but Yale soon took control of the game with an 11-2 run to start the half. Matt Townsend provided two free throws to give the Bulldogs their first double-digit lead at 39-28, but both freshman Malik Gill and Mitola dropped in layups to bring Dartmouth back within seven.

Three-pointers began to fall in earnest for the Bulldogs, however, with Grace popping a pair around two free throws for a 49-35 advantage with just over 11 minutes on the clock. Little more than two minutes later, Martin got into the act with back-to-back threes for Yale’s biggest lead of the night at 18 points, 57-39.

The Big Green still trailed by 18 when Martin hit his fourth triple in four attempts with 5:57 to go when they scored 12 of the next 16 points to climb back to within 10. Both Mitola and Golden hit threes, but every Dartmouth score the rest of the way was answered by Yale, first by Austin Morgan at the free throw line, then baskets by Sherrod and Grace. Big Green sophomore Will McConnell did hit a triple from the right corner in the final minute to end the scoring and allow Dartmouth to equal its season high in three-pointers.

Both teams shot well from the free throw line with the Green converting 18-of-20 (.900) and Yale 15-of-19 (.789). It was the Bulldogs’ field goal shooting in the second half that determined the outcome as they knocked down 17-of-29 (.586) after the intermission, including 5-of-9 (.556) from long range to neutralize the Dartmouth three-point bonanza.

Both teams are back in action tomorrow evening as the Big Green travel to Providence, R.I., to take on Brown (9-14, 3-6 Ivy), which lost to league-leading Harvard tonight by 18 points, at 6 p.m. Yale, meanwhile, plays host to the Crimson (16-7, 8-1) at 8 p.m.

Notes: The Dartmouth record for three-pointers in a game is held by Greg Buth '01 who hit 9-of-13 against Albany on Jan. 20, 2001 ... Buth also is second on that list with eight against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 21, 1999 ... Mitola is tied with six players for third on that list, but is the only one to connect on seven as a freshman ... the last Big Green player to have even five blocks in a game was Alex Barnett '09 who swatted five against Air Force on Dec. 28, 2008 ... the school (and Ivy League) record is 12 by Walter Palmer ’90.