HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth outscored Harvard 24-5 to erase a 17-point deficit in the second half, but the Crimson hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds in regulation to send the game into overtime where they battled back to defeat the host Big Green, 62-57, in front of a sellout crowd of 2,100 at Leede Arena on Saturday night. Seth Towns had 26 points with five 3-pointers for Harvard (7-10, 2-0 Ivy) to help head coach Tommy Amaker win his 200th game at the helm of the Crimson.
The Big Green did not lead at any point in the game until Johnson sank two free throws with 21.5 seconds left to put the home team on top, 48-46. It looked as if Dartmouth would get the defensive stop it needed when Knight came up with a steal, only to have Corey Johnson take it right back and find Towns, who was fouled under the basket to send him to the line with 2.6 seconds to play.
The frenzied crowd did not disrupt him as he sank both free throws to tie the game. A halfcourt heave by freshman Aaryn Rai was a little too strong off the top of the backboard, sending the game into overtime.
Chris Lewis, who finished with 12 points for Harvard, got the scoring started in the overtime period with a dunk, and Towns followed with a 3-pointer for a 53-48 Harvard lead. Two foul shots by Johnson were answered on a Lewis hook and a corner triple courtesy of Justin Bassey, suddenly putting the Crimson up eight with 1:36 to go. Harvard proceeded to hit 4-of-5 at the line to seal the win.
For the first 24-plus minutes of the game, the Big Green could barely buy a field goal against a swarming Harvard defense, hitting just seven of their first 31 attempts from the floor (.226). But when sophomore Ian Sistare hit a desperation 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring with 15:15 to play, Dartmouth began to stir from its shooting slumber.
Still, when Towns drained a long jumper to put the Crimson on top, 41-24, with 12:31 remaining, the Big Green were in dire straits. But sophomore James Foye, who was just 1-of-13 from long range this season, finally shook off his slump with a corner 3-pointer to put Dartmouth on the trail back.
Barry matched Foye with his first 3-pointer of the night before Knight converted two shots at the line. And when Johnson provided one of his four assists on the night on an emphatic dunk by sophomore Will Emery, the fans came to life.
Towns ended the six-minute Harvard scoring drought with a rainmaker from downtown, but he could not stem the Big Green tide. Knight hit 1-of-2 at the line and Barry drained a wide-open three in the corner, closing the gap to four, 44-40, with 4:30 to play.
After a Lewis basket in the lane, Knight answered with a baseline jumper, then Barry went to work at the foul line, drilling four free throws to knot the score at 46 with 2:03 on the clock. Harvard failed to score during a possession that lasted a full minute, but Rai’s left contested lefty layup agonizingly rolled off the rim. Johnson then came up with a steal and was fouled going to the rim, allowing him to give Dartmouth its lone lead of the night. But Harvard converted on Towns’ free throws before taking over in overtime.
Towns was 9-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-8 from deep to contribute to his 26 points, and Bassey registered a double-double with 10 points and rebounds. As a team, the Crimson shot 40 percent (24-of-60) overall and 29.2 percent (7-of-24) from long range.
Johnson hit 6-of-13 field goals, 3-of-5 from behind the arc, plus 4-of-5 at the line for his team-high 19 points. Rai added four steals and eight rebounds to help the Green break even on the boards, 37 apiece, and Barry dished off five assists to lead all players. Dartmouth finished the game shooting a season low 33.3 percent (18-of-54) from the floor, but was 8-of-18 (.444) from the perimeter. The Big Green also went to the line twice as many times as Harvard, sinking 13-of-18 (.722) compare to 7-of-9 (.777) for the Crimson.
Dartmouth starts a four-game road streak in Ivy play next weekend beginning with a Friday night tilt at Brown (8-7, 1-1 Ivy) at 7 p.m. Harvard travels to Yale (8-10, 1-1 Ivy) that same night to take on the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. as well.
Notes: Dartmouth has made a habit of erasing large second-half deficits against the Crimson the past few years. Two weeks ago the Big Green stormed back from 15 points down to briefly take a three-point lead before falling by 10. Two years ago, Dartmouth turned around a 17-point second-half difference into a 13-point win at Harvard … the Green have lost five straight overall and four in a row to the Crimson … in 10 Ivy League games across the league, this was the first victory for a visiting team … senior Miles Wright, who was leading Dartmouth in scoring entering the game, was held scoreless for just the fifth time in 99 career games after dropping 23 on the Crimson two weeks ago.