Quakers are takers in men’s hoop win over Dartmouth

Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, March 02, 2019

HANOVER — The Dartmouth College men’s basketball team has lost seven Ivy League games by five points or fewer this season. Saturday was not one of them, as the Big Green fell, 65-51, to Pennsylvania at Leede Arena.

Third-year coach David McLaughlin’s team is 11-17 overall and 2-10 in league play, with contests at Columbia and Cornell remaining. Should Dartmouth lose those clashes, it would post its worst Ivy record since going 1-13 during three consecutive seasons from 2009-12.

Former Big Green coach Paul Cormier dragged the program out of that quagmire and produced a 7-7 Ivy mark during the winter of 2014-15. He was fired after falling to 4-10 a year later. The average number of points by which Dartmouth has suffered its Ivy League losses during McLaughlin’s tenure, 9.6, isn’t far from the days of Cormier, whose same average his last three years was 10.1 points.

So … are things any better? McLaughlin was 4-10 and 3-11 in the Ivies during his first two seasons, but he said he sees progress nonetheless.

“We’ve risen over 100 spots in the (RPI rankings) since I got here,” said the coach, whose team began the day 186 out of 353 NCAA Division I teams. “Our league has risen from 22nd to 10th nationally, and we’re the only team in the league who doesn’t start a senior or have multiple seniors in our rotation. It’s hard to show significant progress because of how much our league’s grown.”

Having said that, McLaughlin admitted his team didn’t make forward strides on Saturday, when it surrendered 19 points and 13 rebounds to Penn forward A.J. Brodeur and allowed a 3-point intermission deficit to balloon to 14 points seven minutes into the second half.

“I thought our energy was good at our walk-through this morning and that we were ready,” McLaughlin said. “But (Penn) was tougher and played more together basketball.

“We took shots were normally don’t take, we weren’t getting stops we normally would and they were making hustle plays and doing the little extras we were not.”

Dartmouth trailed, 27-24, at intermission. The hosts surrendered consecutive 3-point baskets by Quakers wide open atop the key, however, and after allowing an underhanded layup, were down, 41-27, just seven minutes into the second half.

James Foye led Dartmouth with 13 points and Aaryn Rai had 12 points, followed by Chris Knight with seven. The Quakers had 15 second-chance points while Dartmouth managed only two.

“I think we’ve been trending well and just didn’t deal with some adverse scenarios today,” McLaughlin said. “This is a blip, not who we’ve been all year.”

Notes: Expected sites for the annual four-team Ivy League tournament have been announced. They are Harvard (2020), Princeton (2021), Brown (2022), Cornell (2023), Dartmouth (2024) and Columbia (2025). Penn hosted in 2017 and 2018, and Yale is hosting this season. ... Penn was picked to finish second in the league during a preseason media poll and earned 5 of 20 first-place votes while Dartmouth was chosen to finish last. … Dartmouth honored lone senior Guilien Smith before tipoffs. Smith brought former teammate and 2018 Dartmouth graduate Miles Wright to center court with his parents… Junior guard Ian Sistaire, averaging 10.3 points per game, missed his fourth consecutive contest with a broken foot and is out for the season.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.