HANOVER, N.H. — In its final non-conference game of the year, the Dartmouth Big Green men’s basketball team overwhelmed Colby-Sawyer College on Thursday night at Leede Arena, defeating the Division III Chargers from New London, N.H., by a final of 80-42. Junior Tyler Melville scored a season-high 16 points while sophomore Gabas Maldunas added 14 as two of the 11 players that scored for Dartmouth (4-11). Kyle Nelson led Colby-Sawyer (5-9) with 11 points on the strength of a trio of three-pointers.
The Big Green enjoyed their finest shooting performance of the year, hitting 27-of-48 (.563) of their field goals and 8-of-19 (.421) from three-point range. On the boards, Dartmouth took advantage of its size in grabbing 43 rebounds to just 24 for the Chargers. Maldunas hauled in a game-high nine caroms, narrowly missing out on a double-double, while Melville added a career-best six boards.
At the other end of the court, Colby-Sawyer struggled to put together some offense, shooting 29.3 percent (17-of-58) for the night with seven three-pointers in 21 tries (.333). The Chargers did not attempt a free throw until the final two minutes of the game, and hit just 1-of-3 at the line.
Both teams had their sloppy moments as Dartmouth turned the ball over 22 times while the Chargers gave the ball away on 20 occasions. But the Big Green were able to make the most of the mistakes, converting those 20 miscues into 27 points, compared to just 14 points for the visitors. Dartmouth also had season highs in assists (19) and steals (14) with freshman Malik Gill providing most of each with six helpers and seven steals in 19 minutes on the floor.
Offense was scarce for the first five minutes as Dartmouth took a 6-2 lead, with all six points scored by freshman Connor Boehm. The scoring picked up when the Big Green ripped off 13 straight points to open up a 22-6 advantage with Melville, sophomore John Golden and freshman Alex Mitola each providing a three-pointer.
Mitola added two more triples in the half, while Melville popped another long ball as Dartmouth built the lead to as many as 21 points before settling for a halftime score of 36-17.
Colby-Sawyer came out of the locker room and went to Nelson, who hit a layup then drilled a three-pointer to cut the Charger deficit to 14. It turned out to be the only scoring run of five points or more for Colby-Sawyer.
After Dartmouth got two free throws from Golden and a putback from sophomore Jvonte Brooks, Nelson canned his third three-pointer to make it a 40-25 game. The Big Green then went on a long 25-5 run to put the game well out of reach. Maldunas had seven of the first nine Dartmouth points in the run, and Melville scored seven in a row before senior Matt LaBove capped the spurt with a 12-footer for a 35-point bulge at 65-30.
The lead hit 40 during the final two minutes of action when sophomore Will McConnell swished a three-pointer from the left wing. McConnell added a free throw to give the Big Green 80 points for the first time all season before the Chargers’ Sergio Spassof converted a three-point play to bring the scoring to a close.
Dartmouth gets back into its Ivy League schedule when it completes its two-game set with Harvard, taking on the Crimson in Cambridge in a game to be televised by NBC Sports Network on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. Next up for Colby-Sawyer is a North Atlantic Conference showdown at New England College this Saturday at 3 p.m.
Notes: The 38-point margin of victory was the largest for the Big Green since defeating Plymouth State on Dec. 14, 2008 by 49 points, 96-47 ... Gill’s seven steals were just one shy of the school record set by Michael Lombard at Cornell on Jan. 12, 1991 ... the team’s 14 steals were its most since picking Yale’s pocket 14 times on Feb. 17, 2006 ... Dartmouth had not committed more than 18 turnovers in any game this season ... over the last three games, the Big Green are shooting 48.7 percent from the floor, raising their season total to 38.6 percent ... this was the first-ever meeting on the hardwood between the two schools that are separated by about 30 miles