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Big Green Takes Zap Out of Chargers

Colby-Sawyer guard Zach Bean, right, swings the ball around Dartmouth’s Tyler Melville during last night’s nonconference game at Leede Arena. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Colby-Sawyer guard Zach Bean, right, swings the ball around Dartmouth’s Tyler Melville during last night’s nonconference game at Leede Arena. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »

Hanover — The Dartmouth College men’s basketball team picked an opportune time to schedule Colby-Sawyer, an NCAA Division III foe from just down Interstate 89 in New London. The Chargers have won at least 20 games nine times in the past two decades, but arrived for last night’s nonconference clash with an uncharacteristic losing record. Dartmouth’s 80-42 romp improved the Big Green to 4-11 and dropped the visitors to 5-9.

Nerves were evident early for Colby-Sawyer (5-9), which made just one of its first 11 shots while missing numerous tries from close range. What could have been a real contest for at least a half was instead all but over after 11 minutes, when Dartmouth led by 16 points. The Chargers made just 7-of-30 field-goal attempts before intermission.

“We came in excited and with a chip on our shoulder because we had never played a Division I team,” said Colby-Sawyer point guard Corey Willis, who’s on track to become his program’s career assists leader. “We played our tails off in the first half, but some shots didn’t fall our way.

“Size was a huge difference in the game. We knew they started players (6-foot-9), 6-8 and 6-7 and there was nothing we could do about it. We tried to make the game faster and we had some early steals and layups, which we couldn’t make.”

Chargers coach Bill Foti said his team might have overdosed on adrenaline.

“You can get a little too amped up,” said the 21-year bench boss. “I don’t think we took bad shots, but you have to be able to knock down a reasonable percentage of them. If we’d made four or five more of them, we could have had a different outlook.”

Each of Dartmouth’s 14 healthy players saw action, with 11 of them scoring. Junior guard Tyler Melville had 16 points, sophomore center Gabas Maldunas had 14 points and nine rebounds and freshman guard Malik Gill had six points and seven steals. The Chargers received 11 points from Kyle Nelson and eight from Mike Dias, but were outrebounded, 42-25.

“Nothing against Colby-Sawyer, but we just wanted to come out here and not play down to the level of our competition,” said Dartmouth’s Jvonte Brooks, a sophomore forward who had seven points and five rebounds. “We’re supposed to win, but in the first 15 minutes of so, we weren’t 100 percent focused and we slacked off.”

Said Dartmouth coach Paul Cormier: “We didn’t play a great game but we played well defensively and we dominated the boards. That’s what should happen in a Division I vs. Division III game. It was nice to be able to work on things during the game and not worry that if we made a mistake, it could cost us the game.”

Notes: Harry Sheehy, Dartmouth’s athletic director, has taken an open-ended leave of absence to be with his wife, Connie, who has endured a serious respiratory illness at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center since late last month. Harry Sheehy, who has stayed in touch with athletic department staff via brief appearances, emails and phone calls, has kept a journal on the public website www.caringbridge.com that had attracted more than 900 comments as of last night. Connie Sheehy, who met her husband when they were freshmen at Williams College, was a longtime admissions employee at that school. … The Chargers’ Willis was a strength and conditioning intern at Dartmouth last fall, training the same players he faced last night. … The Big Green is 25-1 against teams outside Division I. The lone loss came to Division II Hawaii-Hilo in 2003. … Colby-Sawyer point guard Stephen Thorpe played his sixth game this season since returning from an academic program in New Zealand. … Dartmouth’s Will McConnell, a sophomore forward who entered having played in eight games but for only 11 minutes, scored his first point of the season and the 12th of his career on a late free throw. McConnell’s twin brother, Reed, plays for California Irvine. … Big Green freshman forward Tommy Carpenter missed the game because of illness. … Attendance was listed at 649. ... Colby-Sawyer committed 20 turnovers and Dartmouth had a season-high 23. ... Dartmouth’s largest margin of victory in recent years is a 96-47 defeat of Plymouth State in 2008.

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