|BY THE NUMBERS|
|Opponent FG Percentage||.413||.461||.458|
|Opponent 3FG Percentage||.296||.345||.378|
|Opponent FT Percentage||.717||.783||.749|
Final Road Trip
• Dartmouth still has a mathematical chance of qualifying for the Ivy League Tournament, but will need to win its final four games to have a shot, starting with Ivy co-leader Penn and Princeton on the road.
• Last week the Big Green suffered a 77-65 defeat at the hands of Yale before beating out Brown in the final seconds by a 66-63 margin.
• Chris Knight was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the second time this season, largely for his peformance against the Bears, hitting season highs of 18 points and eight rebounds while scoring 10 of the final 12 Dartmouth points.
• The Big Green’s leading scorer on the season, senior Miles Wright (12.4 ppg), was the only player to hit double figures in both games last weekend with a game-high 18 against Yale and 15 versus Brown.
• Three other players average in double figures in senior Taylor Johnson (12.3 ppg), Knight (10.6) and sophomore Brendan Barry (10.0).
Dartmouth has been pounding the glass of late, outrebounding its opponents the last two weekends by an average of nearly nine boards a game.
• Princeton beware: the Big Green won their last two games on a Saturday after losing their first eight this season.
Series vs. Penn
• Dartmouth has squared off against the Quakers 214 times with Penn holding a 152-62 advantage.
• The Big Green had won three straight in the series for the first time since 1958-59 — and four straight at Leede Arena — before the Quakers edged Dartmouth in Hanover two weeks ago, 64-61, in a game the Green led by two with three minutes left.
• Miles Wright led four Big Green players in double figures with 16 points, while A.J. Brodeur provided 20 for Penn.
• Last year’s season sweep of Penn was Dartmouth’s second of the Quakers since 1959 (2009).
• Since the Palestra opened on Jan. 1, 1927, the Green have posted an 19-71 record against the Quakers there, and won just five of their last 58 in the arena (but three in the last nine years).
Scouting the Quakers
• Picked fourth in the preseason poll, Penn has clinched a top-two seed already for the Ivy League Tournament with a 9-1 record.
• The Quakers, needing one more win for 20 this year, have not had a winning record since the 2011-12 campaign.
• Penn is among the league leaders in scoring (75.8 ppg, third), but its defense has been its calling card, holding opponents to 41.3 percent from the floor and 29.6 percent on threes (4th nationally).
• Ryan Betley leads the team at 14.5 ppg with 65 3-pointers — second most in the Ivy League — at a 38.2 percent clip, plus grabs 5.0 rebounds a night.
• Big man A.J. Brodeur, last week’s Ivy League Player of the Week, adds 12.6 ppg and 7.0 rpg (second in the league) while shooting 53.2 percent.
• Point guard Darnell Foreman can dish it out (3.4 assists per game) and finish (10.0 ppg), but is not a big threat from behind the arc (26.1 percent).
• Penn has started the exact same lineup in all 26 games this season, but watch out for Caleb Wood off the bench as a 3-point specialist (45 threes).
• If the team has an Achilles heel, it is at the foul line (64.8 percent, bottom 15 nationally).
• Steve Donahue (Ursinus ’84) is in his third year guiding Penn with a 43-39 record entering the weekend. No stranger to the Ivy League, Donahue led Cornell to the Sweet 16 back in 2010. He is 243-253 in his 17th year as a Division I head coach.
Series vs. Princeton
• This is the 215th game in the series (just like Penn) that dates back to 1905. The Tigers are one game worse than the Quakers — 151-63.
• Princeton is 101-23 against the Big Green since the inaugural Ivy season in 1956-57, losing consecutive games just twice in that span with Dartmouth sweeping the season series only once (2009).
• The Big Green posted a 72-56 victory over Princeton two weeks ago as Taylor Johnson produced 21 points and Adrease Jackson came off the bench to provide 16 more.
• Dartmouth enjoyed its largest margin of victory in the series in 10 years and second largest since 1979.
• Even with the loss in Hanover, the Tigers have won 15 of the last 17 meetings.
• The last Big Green victory at Princeton came on Feb. 21, 2009, one of three wins at Jadwin Gym (1987, 2007) in the 48 Dartmouth games there.
Scouting the Tigers
• Princeton enters the weekend on a six-game skid — including a triple-overtime, 107-101 defeat at Cornell — its longest in Ivy play in 10 years (9 games).
• Prior to the slump, the Tigers had won nine of 11, including an overtime win at USC.
• Princeton is still the most lethal long-range shooting team in the Ivy League, shooting 37.8 percent behind the arc (just ahead of Columbia) while making nearly 10 per game.
• Devin Cannady is the third-leading scorer in the league at 17.6 ppg, shooting 39.3 percent on 72 made 3-pointers and 87.5 percent at the line.
• Both Myles Stephens (14.3 ppg) and Amir Bell (10.1) average in double figures with the former shooting 50.2 percent from the floor and leading the team with 6.0 rpg, and the latter dishing out 95 assists, second most in the Ancient Eight.
• Five players, including Stephens and Bell, have hit between 25 and 32 3-pointers.
• Mitch Henderson (Princeton ’98) is in his seventh year guiding his alma mater with a 130-74 record entering the weekend. He played in three NCAA Tournaments with the Tigers and spent 11 years as an assistant at Northwestern.
Saturday Night’s Alright
I just watched Kingsman: The Golden Circle, so forgive me if I have Elton John songs in my head. Anyway, since losing its first eight games on Saturdays this season, Dartmouth has won two in a row, beating Princeton on Feb. 10, 72-56, and Brown last week, 66-63. Should that streak continue this weekend, the Big Green would have just its second season sweep of the Tigers since the Ivy League began formal play in 1956-57 (2009).
I’m Still Standing
With a 2-8 record, the Ivy League Tournament is likely not within reach for the Big Green, but not impossible. According to PlayoffStatus.com, Dartmouth has less than a one percent chance of qualifying by finishing either third or fourth. Cue the Dumb and Dumber “So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance?” meme …
Burn Down the Mission
I suppose I could have gone with Philadelphia Freedom, but many consider the Palestra to be the cathedral of college basketball. For Dartmouth, it has been a house of horrors. Since the place opened in 1927, the Big Green sport a lowly 19-71 record (.211) record in the building, and are just 7-54 (.115) there since formal Ivy play began. Granted, Dartmouth has had even worse luck at Jadwin Gym (3-45, .063). But the good news is that the Green have won three of their last nine contests at the Palestra, so things are looking up …
I’d have to go into some deeper cuts to keep this up, so enough for now. For the fifth straight year, Dartmouth and Brown split the season series with the Big Green salvaging the split on Feb. 17, 66-63. Perhaps it was due to the fact that Dartmouth took a 37-34 lead into the locker room at the half, just its fourth halftime lead of the season. In all four instances, the Big Green have been victorious, the most recent coming in a 75-58 win over Bryant on Dec. 22.
Knight Ivy Rookie of the Week II
Freshman Chris Knight was selected as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after carrying the Big Green to a 66-63 victory over Brown on Feb. 17. The Wisconsin native posted game and season highs with 18 points and eight rebounds against the Bears, but most importantly scored 10 of the final 12 Dartmouth points, including the game-tying and go-ahead buckets, plus hauled in a rebound in the final second to secure the victory. For the week he averaged 12.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 assists as the Green split their two games. Knight is one of just two Ivy freshmen scoring in double figures (10.6) this year.
On the Wright Track
Senior Miles Wright has been a consistent scorer of late for the Big Green, ever since he became the 29th player in program history to score 1,000 points against Cornell on Feb. 2. In the six games this month, he has provided at least 15 points five times and is averaging 15.5 a game. Last weekend, Wright hit half of his shots overall (11-of-22) and from distance (7-of-14). With just four points this weekend he will surpass former teammate Gabas Maldunas ’15 for 23rd place on the all-time scoring list.
Efficiency on Offense
Freshman Adrease Jackson has been Dartmouth’s most efficient scorer this year with a 63.6 effective FG percentage and a 64.4 true shooting percentage, although while playing less than 30 percent of the available minutes. For qualified players, Taylor Johnson leads those categories (57.6 eFG%, 60.3 TS%, both in the top 250 nationally), while Brendan Barry also ranks in the top 500 (53.8 eFG%, 57.7 TS%) against D-I opponents (stats courtesy of KenPom.com).
Hammering the Boards
Before the weekend of Feb. 9-10, Dartmouth had recorded more rebounds than its opponent just four times all year. That changed quickly as the Big Green pounded the glass to earn a 43-34 advantage over Penn before pummeling Princeton, 43-23. That 20-rebound margin is the largest for Dartmouth since a 43-21 edge against Brown on Feb. 13, 2016. The next weekend, the Green battled Yale to a draw in a loss, but bested the Bears by a 34-28 margin in another win. In Ivy play, Dartmouth boasts a rebound margin of plus-2.6, best in the league. In two seasons under Coach McLaughlin, the Big Green are 11-9 when snaring more caroms, 5-2 this year.
That is likely the sentiment for sophomore Will Emery. The forward has put up excellent scoring numbers in the Friday night Ivy games this season, averaging 14.3 ppg while shooting 66.7 percent (20-of-30) over the four games, not to mention 5.5 rebounds per contest. While his six Saturday Ivy games don’t stack up in the scoring column (4.2 ppg), it’s not from a lack of energy as his rebounding attests (5.6 rpg). Chalk it up to coincidence and small sample size, but I have to write about something.
Five times this season, Dartmouth has gotten at least 90 percent of its points from its starting five, most recently in the 66-63 win over Brown on Feb. 17 (60 of 66, .909). The highest percentage came against Columbia on Feb. 3 with 71 of 74 points (.959), with the others being: UIC on Dec. 15 (55 of 60, .917), Harvard on Jan. 6 (46 of 51, .902) and Penn on Feb. 9 (57 of 61, .934). The last game with a higher percentage than the Columbia game was in a 67-57 loss to Penn on Feb. 16, 2013 (55 of 57, .965).
50 Percent Threshold
By hitting 24-of-46 shots against Brown, Dartmouth hit at least half of its shots for the eighth time this year after reaching that mark only three times in each of the last three seasons. The last time the Big Green shot 50 percent or better at least eight times in one season was 25 years ago when they had nine such games.