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Crimson Burns Green Again

Crimson Rules Green Again

Dartmouth’s Kevin Crescenzi, left, wrestles the ball away from Harvard’s Christian Webster yesterday at Leede Arena. The Big Green lost the teams’ Ivy League opener, 75-65.(Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Dartmouth’s Kevin Crescenzi, left, wrestles the ball away from Harvard’s Christian Webster yesterday at Leede Arena. The Big Green lost the teams’ Ivy League opener, 75-65.(Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »

Hanover — Yesterday’s unusual temperatures in the Upper Valley soared past 40 degrees. Sadly for the Dartmouth College men’s basketball team, its shooting touch went cold at just the wrong time.

Leading archrival Harvard by five points with nine minutes remaining in the teams’ Ivy League opener at Leede Arena, the Big Green was outscored 17-2 the rest of the way and lost 75-65. The result was the Crimson’s seventh consecutive victory in the teams’ series and allowed the defending league champions to dash the hopes of most in an announced crowd of 997.

Dartmouth post player Connor Boehm, who tied for his team’s scoring lead with 11 points, shook his head when asked if the Big Green had captured a moral victory.

“We definitely played better than we have of late, but we were up at halftime and we can’t claim a moral victory in a game we should have won,” the freshman said. “Playing Harvard, we don’t have a very large margin for error, but in the last five minutes, they were more poised and executed better on offense.

“Maybe some of our guys were winded. I know I was a little tired, but we should have still been more composed in the second half.”

Boehm, a bullish 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, had to play 32 minutes, 12 more than his season average, after starting center Gabas Maldunas picked up his fourth foul with 15 minutes remaining. Coach Paul Cormier has been pushing the sophomore to play with more consistent fire, but yesterday’s effort left the bench boss exasperated.

“Gabas had some silly fouls,” said Cormier, who felt Maldunas’ absence meant his teammates had to try and win the game from the perimeter, where Harvard has a clear talent advantage. “The last one was ridiculous. All he had to do was stay in front of the guy and he reaches in. He got another one on a rebound he had no shot at getting.

“I want him to be aggressive, but sometimes you have to back off. The definition of aggressiveness is to do whatever you have to do to win. It’s not to go out all frenetic and stupid.”

The Crimson (9-5), which lost several players, including star Kyle Casey, to involvement in an academic cheating scandal before the season, was led yesterday by freshman point guard Siyani Chambers, who produced 22 points and six assists in 38 minutes. Sophomore swing man Wesley Saunders chipped in 19 points.

“Chambers, what a great player he is,” Cormier said. “It’s scary he’s going to be around for another three years.”

Dartmouth was down by as many as 14 points during the first half but rallied to lead 43-42 at intermission. The Crimson retook the lead four minutes into the second half, however, and after a 63-63 tie with 7:30 to play, left the Big Green in the dust.

“We showed that we’re getting better, but in the last five minutes, their stars took over and we either didn’t have an answer or we didn’t have the right people in place to do it,” Cormier said. “Give Harvard credit for hitting huge shots down the stretch.”

Freshman point guard Alex Mitola had 11 points but no assists for Dartmouth (3-11), which received 10 points each from Maldunas and Jvonte Brooks. John Golden and Tyler Melville had seven points apiece. The Big Green hosts Division III opponent Colby-Sawyer on Thursday.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.