Zonia Moore / The Dartmouth
With two games to play at home, Dartmouth did not start off well against Brown (8-10, 2-2 Ivy) and did not improve much throughout the game. The Big Green could not seem to tap into its offensive power that spectators saw in the game against Harvard University last weekend. Instead, Dartmouth floundered points below the Bulldogs for the majority of the matchup.
"We didn't give the same face offensively and defensively," Tyler Melville '14 said. "It just wasn't our night."
Brown took control of the game from the start and never lost its momentum, opening with two three-pointers for a 7-0 lead. Although Melville managed to drive through the Bears with a high shot off the glass, Dartmouth still struggled to keep up. An early -2 run by the Bears led the double-digit deficit for the Big Green, who trailed 23-11 at the first time out.
"Mentally, we didn't come ready to play," Kevin Crescenzi '16 said. "We didn't come out with the same energy and enthusiasm we've had."
Although the half ended on a high note with John Golden '15 notching a field goal and Gabas Maldunas '15 tapping in a miss at the buzzer, Dartmouth trailed 23-33 at the break.
"We didn't really believe in our success after they got us in the beginning," Maldunas said. "We were never able to get the momentum up."
The Big Green finished the half with just a 34.5 shooting percentage while the Bears clipped the net at a superior 61.9 percent.
Things did not turn around for Dartmouth in the second half, when the Big Green defense allowed as much as a 19-point lead by the bears. Although Dartmouth managed to stay alive with the help of three treys by Malik Gill '16, it finished the game behind the Brown 50-62.
On Saturday an entirely different Big Green stepped on court in Leede Arena. The energy and effort that had been lacking against Brown reappeared.
"We were inspired to not give that same kind of effort again," Melville said. "We wanted the chance to turn our season around. It was a point of emphasis to come together and play as hard as we could."
The Big Green improved its shooting game as well, hitting more than half its field goals at 51.1 percent versus just 35.3 percent for the Bulldogs. Dartmouth was not intimidated by an early five-point lead for the Bulldogs and responded with a triple from Melville and a layup by Tommy Carpenter '16. After trading shots for a few minutes, Dartmouth racked up 11 straight points over more than six minutes, beginning with a layup by Maldunas to tie the game at 14, marking the last time Yale would ever have the lead.
"When Yale got that 5-0 run at the beginning, we thought no way are we losing this game," Maldunas said. "We were able to do what we were supposed to do."
Melville solidified the lead with a free throw, and the Big Green's intensity was palpable when Maldunas stole the ball near mid-court and took it home for a dunk. After Yale tried to regroup with a time out, Maldunas added another layup and Alex Mitola '16 hit two free throws to give Dartmouth a 23-14 lead.
Although Yale managed to hit a few free throws before the half was over, Dartmouth's unstoppable offense and Yale's shooting troubles behind the arc left the Bulldogs behind 20-27.
"We played with some pride, made big defensive stops and ran a lot more in transition," Crescenzi said. "That gave us some easy buckets."
Yale finally ended its three-point drought with a three-pointer to bring the Bulldogs within five points, 31-26, but Maldunas shut down the Bulldogs' effort with three layups in the span of just one minute. Golden added a pair of free throws to boost Dartmouth's lead to 13 points early in the second half.
"Just playing hard every possession is going to make us win," Maldunas said. "There's no other short cut."
The Bulldogs managed to put together a nine-point run, only to be squashed by a 13-3 run by the Big Green. Golden started it with a triple and Maldunas continued with another steal and a fast break for a layup. Golden drained two free throws to finish the run and give Dartmouth its largest lead of the night at 52-37 with 7:41 remaining.
The Big Green finished strong despite the Bulldogs' effort, who cut down the lead to single digits in the final minutes of the game. Dartmouth's consistent free throw shooting as the game ended kept the lead comfortable and the Big Green defeated the Bulldogs 71-62.
"We need to learn that we're in it together as a team to work hard and play collectively," Melville said. "That's how we'll continue to get more wins."
Dartmouth faces more Ivy League foes next week with a matchup against Columbia University in New York City at 7 P.M. on Friday and against Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. at 7 P.M. on Saturday.