NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Three times Dartmouth closed within a single possession in the second half, and every time Yale answered with a 3-pointer to hold off the Big Green for a 74-64 victory over at John J. Lee Amphitheater on Saturday evening. Alex Copeland had a game-high 25 points for the Bulldogs (9-11, 2-2 Ivy), while senior Taylor Johnson produced 15 points and a career-high seven assists for Dartmouth (4-13, 0-4 Ivy), which dropped its seventh straight.
After Yale had built up its lead to 10 at 45-35 early in the second half on a fastbreak layup by Copeland, the Big Green slowly chopped into their deficit. Five minutes later, freshman Chris Knight — who finished the night with a dozen points — provided a bucket in the paint to bring Dartmouth within three, 51-48, with less than 11 minutes remaining. But Azar Swain fired one from behind the arc to double the Bulldog advantage back to six.
The Big Green defense tightened up, however, keeping the Bulldogs off the scoreboard for the next three-plus minutes. Again the offense closed the gap to three on a free throw by sophomore Ian Sistare (11 points off the bench) and a lay-in by sophomore forward Will Emery. This time Miye Oni hit the first of his three second-half triples to boost the Bulldog bulge back to six at 57-51 with seven minutes on the clock.
After Oni hit another one to make it a nine-point game with 4:40 to go, Dartmouth went back to work with three straight baskets — a layup from Johnson sandwiched between two Knight jumpers — and was back within three once more at 62-59 and nearly three minutes still to play.
It was Trey Phills’ turn to stick a dagger into the Big Green hopes, draining a 3-pointer on the very next possession — the last of his 17 points — while Oni followed that up with his last long ball to give him 15 points on the night. A Paul Atkinson dunk gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the game at 70-59, before Copeland sank four free throws to seal the victory.
“I can’t ask our players to play any harder night after night,” Dartmouth head coach David McLaughlin said after the game. “We did a good job on the glass [34-27 rebounding edge] and did a lot of good things tonight. But we have to take failure and use it as a motivator to continue to bring this kind of energy every practice and every game.”
Unlike the first three Ivy League games this year in which they fell behind by double digits in the first half, the Big Green took the lead after some early back-and-forth. Senior Miles Wright (10 points) put the first five on the board for Dartmouth, but after the Bulldogs went up 11-8, the Green went on a 10-2 burst, mostly on baskets in the paint, including the last two on fastbreak layups by Johnson and Knight for an 18-13 edge.
Sophomore Will Emery, who led Dartmouth with eight rebounds, maintained the five-point difference with a pair of free throws, but Yale scored the next eight points over just 1:37. Phills scored twice in the lane, while Oni twice got out on the break for a dunk and a layup, the last one leading McLaughlin to gather his troops with a timeout, trailing 23-20.
Sistare briefly tied the game at 25 with two foul shots, but Eric Monroe gave a preview of what was to come in the second half when he drilled a corner three, putting Yale on top for good. Swain’s first long ball of the night opened up a seven-point lead in the final minute of the stanza, but Johnson drove for a layup just before the buzzer to make it a 36-31 game at the intermission.
In the first five minutes of the second half, Copeland boosted the Yale advantage to 10 twice on jumpers. The second time set up Dartmouth’s slow burn to cut it to three before the Bulldogs treated their lead like their personal bone and wouldn’t give it up.
Yale hit just over half of its field goals on the night (28-of-55, .509) and went 9-of-22 (.409) from behind the arc. Copeland was deadly, hitting 9-of-15 overall with a 3-pointer and 6-of-7 at the line for his 25 points, while Phills was even more efficient at 7-of-9 with two treys to go with a game-high nine rebounds.
The Big Green finished the night shooting 45.5 percent (25-of-55) from the floor but just 23.5 percent (4-of-17) from distance. Johnson (7-of-11) and Knight (6-of-11) both shot well from the floor to lead the offense, and sophomore Brendan Barry — the Ivy League leader in assist-to-turnover ratio — nearly matched Johnson with six helpers while coughing the ball up just once.
Dartmouth will finish up its four-game road swing in conference play next weekend with a trip to Cornell (7-10, 1-3 Ivy) Friday night and Columbia (4-13, 1-3 Ivy) on Saturday evening. Both games tip off at 7 p.m. will be streamed live on the Ivy League Network, now available on Apple TV, Roku and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices. Friday night’s contest will also be streamed on ESPN3, while the game on Saturday will be shown live locally in New York on SNY.
Notes: Dartmouth’s seven-game skid is its longest since opening the 2016-17 season with nine straight defeats … the Big Green have won just one of their past 19 games at the Lee Amphitheater and are 98-113 all-time against Yale … Wright’s 10 points leave him 12 shy of becoming the 29th player in Dartmouth history with 1,000 in a career … Knight has scored in double figures in 13 of the 17 games as a freshman, leading the team.