BANGOR, Maine — Senior Taylor Johnson scored 12 of the final 15 Dartmouth points to carry the Big Green (3-4) to a 73-66 victory at Maine (2-8) on Friday night at the Cross Insurance Center. Johnson finished the night with a career-high 29 points on 11-of-13 shooting as Dartmouth picked up its first road win of the young season.
The Big Green trailed by two, 52-50, with less than eight minutes to play when Johnson put Dartmouth on the winning trail with a pair of free throws. Sophomore Brendan Barry then drained a 3-pointer to put the Green on top, and after Aaron Calixte hit three free throws, hit another long ball for a 58-55 lead.
Johnson took over from there, scoring the next 10 Dartmouth points. But Maine managed to tie the score at 63 during his scoring burst on an Andrew Fleming dunk and a Vernon Lowndes Jr. layup. Johnson responded with his fourth 3-pointer of the night, giving the Big Green the lead for good with 1:47 to play. He added a turnaround floater from 10 feet in the lane high off the glass with under a minute to play, and freshman Chris Knight converted 3-of-4 foul shots to seal the victory.
Dartmouth enjoyed a strong shooting effort all night, hitting 26-of-50 (.520) from the floor and 10-of-21 (.476) from behind the arc, including 6-of-9 (.667) in the second half thanks to Barry and Johnson. Although the Big Green did match a season high with 20 turnovers while facing a full-court press for most of the second half, they also dished out 19 assists with four apiece from Barry and freshman Aaryn Rai.
Joining Johnson in double figures were Knight with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and Barry with 12, all coming on four 3-pointers in six attempts. On the glass, Dartmouth got after it with a 32-24 rebounding advantage. Rai, Johnson and senior Miles Wright all had five in the team effort on the boards.
The Big Green began the game well, hitting four of their first five shots en route to an early 11-3 lead with sophomore Will Emery dropping in a couple of layups and Barry ripping the net from downtown.
But Maine battled back by going to the basket as Dartmouth big men Emery and Knight both fell into foul trouble. Aaron Calixte and Vernon Lowndes Jr., both of whom finished the night with a team-high 13 points, each provided a pair of layups with an Ilker Er 3-pointer mixed in for good measure. When Isaiah White came off the bench and immediately drilled a trey, the Black Bears owned a 23-18 lead with 6:30 left in the half.
Dartmouth clamped down at both ends for the rest of the half, outscoring Maine, 14-4, before the intermission arrived. Johnson got the ball rolling with a floating finger roll in the lane and Wright popped a long ball to tie the game at 23. A Maine layup was answered in kind by freshman Adrease Jackson off a nifty feed from his classmate Rai. Johnson drove for a layup to put the Green back on top, then capped the half with a 3-pointer from the corner for a 32-27 advantage at the break.
In the second half, Dartmouth continued its scoring surge as Rai and Barry drained 3-pointers on the first two possessions, and Rai added two free throws for a sudden 13-point lead at 40-27. But the Black Bears went to a full-court press, helping them finish the game with 12 steals while leading to some easy buckets.
The lead was still 10 at 47-37 with 12:47 to play following a Johnson trifecta, but the next five minutes belonged to Maine, starting with a Dusan Majstorovic corner 3-pointer that began a 15-3 run. Dennis Ashley capped that span with a long ball to tie the game and two foul shots for the Black Bears’ only lead of the second half. But Johnson put Dartmouth on the road back with his two free throws, setting up the winning stretch.
Maine ended the game shooting 46.3 percent (25-of-54) overall and 30 percent (6-of-20) from the perimeter to go with a perfect night at the line (10-of-10). The Black Bears, despite committing 16 turnovers of their own, outscored Dartmouth off of miscues by a 24-13 margin.
The Big Green have a week off before traveling to Chicago to play the UIC Flames (3-5) for the first-time ever next Friday at 8 p.m. (EST).
Notes: Johnson has led Dartmouth in scoring in three straight games (only once in first three seasons) and produced at least 20 points in each of the last two for the second and third times of his career … Knight has scored in double figures in each of the last six contests … Barry has hit at least two 3-pointers in nine straight games dating back to last year … Dartmouth is 13-11 all-time against the Black Bears … the Big Green have shot at least 50 percent three times already this year after reaching that mark three times all of last season.