Men’s basketball loses both games on road
The men’s basketball team dropped both of its games on its road trip this weekend, falling 70-67 to Cornell University in a heartbreaker and 69-59 to Columbia University. The Big Green has now lost four games straight, bringing its record to 9-13 overall, 2-6 versus the Ancient Eight.

The contest against the Big Red started out close, with neither team gaining more than a three-point edge for the opening 10 minutes. Cornell began to gain some momentum when sophomore Nolan Cressler drilled a three and Dwight Tarwater powered to the cup for two, sparking a furious 18-6 run for the home team. The Big Green tried to answer before the break, as Brandon McDonnell ’16 sunk a pair of free throws and Kevin Crescenzi ’16 drained a long ball after losing his man with a hesitation dribble. Cornell reciprocated, though, extending the lead to 31-20 going into the locker room. The team committed to turning the game around after halftime, guard John Golden ’15 said. “Honestly, we didn’t play well in the first half,” he said. “Coach got into us a little bit and told us we could play a lot better than we did.” After the break, Dartmouth mounted a furious comeback to put itself in a position to win. The scoring alternated for the first five minutes of the period, as Cornell’s lead shrunk to nine points.  Cornell then pressed its advantage, starting with a steal and a breakaway two-handed jam by freshman Darryl Smith. After the media timeout, two Cornell free throws brought the lead to 51-36, the largest of the game. Dartmouth needed a player to step up and it got one in Alex Mitola ’16. Mitola canned three three-pointers in two minutes, the string punctuated only by a long shot from Crescenzi. Mitola finished off his virtuosic burst with a trip to the foul line, where he made both his attempts to pull the Big Green within one. Crescenzi finished off the job on the next possession with a jumper in the paint to give Dartmouth the lead at 52-51 with seven minutes remaining. “We came out and played a lot better defense to start the second half,” Golden said. “Getting stops on them allowed us to get some easy buckets, which got us right back into it.” The two teams continued to battle up until the final minute of regulation, with neither side gaining more than a three-point advantage. With Dartmouth behind 62-59 at the 1:03 mark, Connor Boehm ’16 swung the ball to Mitola, who squared up for three. As he released the ball, Darryl Smith flew in and swatted it away, setting up a fast break for Cornell. Mitola sprinted after in hot pursuit but arrived too late, as junior Devin Cherry completed the layup and drew the foul. Dartmouth refused to give up, though, and after back-and-forth foul shooting by both teams, the score favored Cornell 66-62 with 0:26 remaining. Following a timeout, the Big Green got the ball to Eli Harrison ’17, who drained a deep, fade-away three, bringing the bench to its feet and imbuing the team with new life. After a free throw by Cherry and then a layup by Tyler Melville ’14, the score stood tied at 67 with nine seconds remaining. Cherry got to the free throw line again and make one of two, putting Cornell back on top. With five seconds remaining, Cornell stole the ball off Melville on an inbound pass, effectively ending the game and the comeback. The game against the Lions unfolded in almost exactly the opposite way, as Dartmouth kept the score close during the first half and then let the margin widen in the second period. The first half was closely contested, as the game went through 10 lead changes and eight ties. Mitola kept his team in the game with three long balls in the first seven minutes. Columbia fought back as junior Meiko Lyles hit two three-pointers of his own in response, but Dartmouth fended off Columbia until the last minute of the first half, when freshman Jeff Coby sunk a free throw, grabbed the rebound when he missed a second, and put the ball back in for two. The score was 31-30 in favor of the Lions going into the break. The start of the second half looked promising for the Big Green, as Boehm hit a pair of foul shots and Melville drained a pull-up jumper in their first two offensive possessions. After Melville’s shot, though, the Dartmouth offense stagnated, hitting just one field goal in the next nine minutes. The team tried to make its way back in the game, pulling within six points with under seven minutes remaining, but the Big Green would never get closer, however, as Columbia’s defense locked down and sophomore Maodo Lo and junior Alex Rosenberg combined to go 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the remainder of the contest. Performance at the line seemed to limit the Big Green who made 58.3 percent of its attempts compared to 84.6 percent from Columbia, which leads the Ivy League in free throw shooting. “We have to be able to capitalize on free throws, that was the crucial thing in the game,” Melville said. “I’m not saying that’s a tell-all statistic, but free throws are certainly a big part of the game.” The Big Green will go on another road trip next weekend, playing Princeton University on Friday night and the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Dartmouth beat both schools earlier this season.
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