Everything Goes Right for Green
Dartmouth College's Matt Rennie peers into a crowded lane Friday during the Big Green's Ivy League game against visiting Pennsylvania. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth College guard Mike Fleming watches his pass head towards a teammate in the paint Friday during the Big Green's Ivy League game against visiting Pennsylvania. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Ed Sole, 9, jumps towards a Leede Arena basket Friday night while competing in a dress-up contest during a time out. The McLean, Va., resident is the son of 1991 Dartmouth graduate Ed Sole, and was taking in the game during a family vacation. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Can you call defeating a foe with just four victories at this point of the college basketball season an upset? You can when you’re the Dartmouth College men’s basketball team and seemingly nothing has gone right during the past month.
Despite missing two starters and a reserve because of injuries and illness and carrying the weight of a five-game losing streak, the Big Green rallied for an improbable, 67-58 victory over Ivy League rival Pennsylvania on Friday night at Leede Arena.
Guards Alex Mitola and John Golden had a combined six points at halftime, when their team trailed by seven. The duo combined for 34 points after intermission, however, and their squad left the undisciplined Quakers in its wake.
“It’s been a tough couple weeks for us,” said Golden, a junior who had four points and five rebounds before the break, but 11 points and three rebounds after. “We didn’t play pretty tonight, but we played just about as hard as we ever have since I’ve been here.
“It’s been a while since we’ve seen our balls go through the hoop, but tonight everybody was hitting big shots.”
Mitola had two points before halftime, but 23 after it. Backcourt mate Kevin Crescenzi had 11 points and six rebounds and guard Malik Gill had four assists and only one turnover during a 12-minute appearance shortened by an ankle injury in the second half.
Dartmouth improved to 8-9 overall and 1-2 in the Ivies despite playing without All-Ivy center Gabas Maldunas, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. His backup, freshman Cole Harrison, is ill and starting forward Tommy Carpenter was diagnosed this week with a broken wrist suffered last weekend against Harvard.
Despite those setbacks, coach Paul Cormier wasn’t in a forgiving mood after his team allowed Penn guard Miles Cartwright to dribble the length of the floor and score on a layup as the first half expired.
“That was inexcusable,” Mitola said of a play that left his team trailing, 28-21. “Coach really dug into us at halftime. Someone has to take a charge in that situation and stop the ball.”
Said Cormier: “I tried to reach their competitive spirit. I told them it was time to rip open their chests and pour their hearts out on the floor.”
Mitola, who had scored just a combined 27 points during his previous four games, said the message hit him hard.
“I’m an emotional player and that really got to me,” he said. “It came down to who was going to player harder and loose. That’s the first time this season that we’re really found that balance.”
Penn was 20-13 overall and 11-3 in the Ivies two winters back, but is 4-12 and 1-1 this season. Fifth-year coach Jerome Allen was blunt in his assessment of Friday’s contest, during which his team received 19 points and nine rebounds from Fran Dougherty.
“I didn’t like anything about it,” Allen said. “They just played harder and wanted it more. We had 18 turnovers and the majority were unforced. We’re not patient and we don’t have the best vision.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities and we disrespected the game and that falls directly on me.”
The game ended in a rather ugly fashion. Golden was on the receiving end of a flagrant foul by Tony Hicks with three minutes remaining that resulted in the Quaker’s ejection. It was Hicks’ second technical and his fifth personal foul. He and his teammates looked angry and distracted down the stretch.
“That had a lot to do with the outcome,” Cormier said of his players’ ability to turn the other cheek. “It showed we were focused on winning and we weren’t taking it personally.”
Penn made 51 percent of its field goals but attempted just 37 shots from the floor. Dartmouth, which hosts Princeton (12-4, 0-2) on Saturday, held a 16-4 edge in second-chance shots. Each team came down with 29 rebounds.
Notes: Golden’s 15 points and eights rebounds were season highs for him, as was Mitola’s 25 points. … Only a handful of those appearing to be Dartmouth students attended the game. Attendance was announced at 802. … Mitola was 9 of 11 at the free-throw line while the rest of his teammates were 7 of 18. … Dartmouth football receiver Dana Barbaro sent out an Instagram photos Thursday of what he called “leaked images of the new sample helmet,” showing a black shell with a white face mask, white-and-green stripes, a green “D” outlined in white on the front and a white pine tree logo on the back. Coach Buddy Teevens, who generated widespread unhappiness when he switched from the team’s iconic logo during the late 1980s, wrote in a Friday text that the chances of the 2014 squad wearing a different-colored helmet were “slim and none.”
Tris Wykes can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3227.