PRINCETON, N.J. — Dartmouth took a one-point lead into halftime at Princeton, but succumbed to a barrage of three-pointers in the second half as the host Tigers defeated the Big Green on Senior Night at Jadwin Gym, 68-63. Will Barrett led all players with a career-high 24 points for Princeton (16-9, 9-2 Ivy) thanks to five triples in the second half. Junior Tyler Melville tallied a career-best 23 points for Dartmouth (7-19, 3-9 Ivy) against the squad his father achieved two-time All-Ivy status.
Melville drained 9-of-11 field goals on the night with a pair of three-pointers, plus converted all three of his foul shots. He was joined in double figures by sophomore Gabas Maldunas, who registered his third double-double of the season with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. The Big Green hit 24-of-51 (.471) from the floor but only 4-of-14 (.286) from long range.
Dartmouth led the entire first half, but Barrett stole the show after the intermission, hitting 5-of-8 three-pointers while scoring 18 points in the stanza to rally the Tigers. T.J. Bray also provided several big shots, scoring 21 points on the night thanks to dropping 4-of-5 from behind the arc. As a team, Princeton shot 44.4 percent (20-of-45) overall but 52.6 percent (10-of-19) on three-pointers, then sealed the game at the line, sinking 18-of-21 (.857) on the night.
Maldunas, sophomore John Golden and Melville each had layups in the first four possessions to give the Big Green a quick 6-0 lead. Twice Dartmouth extended that lead to nine points on layups by Maldunas and freshman Connor Boehm in the middle of the half. The points in the paint kept coming as the Green held a 19-11 edge, but Princeton enjoyed a 7-0 run over nearly six minutes before Melville turned a Golden steal into 12-footer in the lane with 51 seconds left.
A Tiger misfire allowed Dartmouth to hold for the final shot of the half, but a traveling violation gave Princeton the ball back with 1.3 seconds on the clock. Ian Hummer snared the long pass for a turnaround jumper and was fouled, allowing the Tigers to pull within one at the half, 21-20.
At the break, all but five of the Big Green’s points came in the lane, and they turned eight Tiger turnovers into 10 points as well. The Dartmouth defense held Princeton to just 33.3 percent shooting overall (7-of-21) and on three-pointers (2-of-6). Its offense, meanwhile, hit 10-of-22 from the floor but missed all six three-point attempts.
Princeton took its first lead of the game on the first possession of the second half as Hummer knocked down a jumper. Boehm responded for the Big Green with a trifecta, his first in a month. But a 9-0 run, capped by a Bray three-pointer, put the Tigers in the lead for good as it turned out.
But Dartmouth would not go quietly. Maldunas scored the next seven Big Green points, keeping his squad with three points at 34-31, then Melville provided the next 12 over nearly a nine-minute span. The Tigers during Melville’s run, started popping threes in earnest to open up a bulge as large as 12 points. Barrett hit his first trey with 12:27 to play, then another three minutes later after another Bray triple.
Melville brought the Green back with three-pointers on consecutive possessions, a pair of foul shots and a 14-footer to make it a 48-43 game. Barrett then rained in a trio of trifectas on three straight trips down the floor to counteract the two points Dartmouth scored after each one.
Now leading 57-49 with three minutes left, the Tigers knocked down 11-of-12 free throws to keep the Big Green at bay. Freshman Alex Mitola hit a three-pointer and classmate Malik Gill laid one in during the final seven seconds to narrow the final gap to five.
Hummer, Princeton’s second all-time leading scorer behind only Bill Bradley, finished the game with 13 points in his final home game. Barrett led the effort on the boards with eight rebounds as the Tigers bested Dartmouth on the glass, 30-26. The Princeton starting five scored all but two points in the game, which came in the final minute of action.
Dartmouth returns home to close out its season next week when it hosts Cornell (13-16, 5-7 Ivy) on Friday at 7 p.m. and Columbia (12-14, 4-8 Ivy) on Saturday at 7 p.m. as well. Princeton, the Ivy leader after Harvard’s 75-72 loss at Penn this evening, travels to Yale and Brown this weekend before closing its season at Penn on Tuesday, March 12.
Notes: Randy Melville earned All-Ivy first-team honors at Princeton in 1979-80 and 1980-81, leading the Tigers to the league title and NCAA Tournament in the latter season ... Dartmouth has lost eight straight to the Tigers since defeating them on the night they dedicated Pete Carril Court on Feb. 21, 2009.