On Saturday afternoon, an important game took place in the Ivy League. The Dartmouth College Big Green (5-12, 1-3) hosted the Brown Bears (5-14, 1-3). A spot in fourth place was at stake. Why is that important? Because only four teams make the Ivy League postseason tournament which will take place on March 16-17. The Big Green came into this game on a 5-game losing streak. They have lost their first three league games. Brown, on the other hand, had lost three of four games this month. They have a road win to their credit against Harvard.
As play began on Saturday, there was a 3-team tie for fourth place in the league. Brown was one of those three teams. Dartmouth was a game back of those teams. This was the first of two meetings between these two teams. Brown will get to host on March 2. One of the better point guards in the Ivy League and maybe the country was on display on Saturday. Junior guard Kino Lilly Jr. leads the Bears in scoring at 19.3 a game and in assists with three a game. For Dartmouth, Dusan Neskovic leads the team in scoring at 14.3 a contest. Jaren Johnson leads in assists at 2.3 a game.
It was a slow start for the Big Green in the first four minutes of the game. They trailed by six, 9-3, and were having a difficult time with the Bears’ size down low and on the offensive side putting the ball in the basket. Brown would take their first double-digit lead of the half at the 12:58 mark at 17-5. Seven of those points came from Brown junior forward Nana Owusu-Anane (20 points, nine boards). With eleven minutes left in the half, Dartmouth was shooting only 28% from the field (4-of-14), and from 3-point land, they were 1-of-4 for 25%. Brown was shooting 6-of-9 from the field and 66.7%, 2-of-3 from deep. The Bears had a 21-5 lead with 11:07 left. As the first half hit the halfway point, the Big Green started to warm up and get themselves back into the contest. Brandon Mitchell-Day knocked down a couple of 3’s and off the bench and Neskovic with five. With 2:36 to go before halftime Brown’s lead was 30-20.
Brown’s best player started to heat up as the half was coming to an end. Kino Lilly JR (14 points for the game) hit three 3-pointers to finish the half with 11 points. On the inside Owusu-Anane was working toward a double-double with 11 points and five boards. The Bears had the lead for all of 20 seconds in the first half and shot 52% (13 of 25) to take a 37-26 lead to the locker room. Dartmouth was 10-of-31, 32% from the field, and committed more turnovers than assists (9-7) to seven assists. Brown also had a big advantage in points in the paint 16-8 and in fast break points 12-0.
Dartmouth started the second half on a 7-2 run Brandon Mitchell-Day had five of those points, Connor Christensen the other two on a drive to the basket. It forced Brown head coach Mike Martin to call time with his team up 39-33 with 16:57 to play. The Big Green kept climbing the hill. With 11:53 to go they were within 6 at 51-45. Their bench was becoming a big contributor to keeping them in the game outscoring Brown’s bench by a 20-8 margin. On four different occasions, the Big Green brought the game down to a one-score contest. Brown guard Kimo Ferrari came up with big baskets to keep his team in the lead. First with a 3-pointer, then a drive to the basket. With 6:43 left it was a 60-58 game. It stayed a one-score game as the final media timeout took place.
It was starting to look like Brown was hanging on, and Dartmouth gained a second wind. With 3;39 left, the Big Green had a chance to tie the game, but Mitchell-Day made only one FT to make it 65-64 Brown. They took their first lead of the game at 66-65 on a basket in the paint by Romeo Myrthil The game see-sawed back and forth. Owusu-Anane had a big 3-pointer and a free throw. Mitchell-Day matched the 3-point shot with one of his own. With 31.7 seconds left and the game tied at 71-71, Owusu-Anane fouled Mitchell-Day and was done for the game. Mitchell-Day stepped to the line and made two FTs to give Dartmouth a 73-71 lead. Brown had two chances to either tie or take the lead back but 3-point shots from Ferrari and Lilly Jr missed their mark. Mitchell-Day then took a pass from Myrthil at half-court and went to the basket and dunked home what turned out to be the game-winning shot. Brown did have 4.1 seconds left to come up with a 4-point play. Lilly Jr’s three-point shot at the buzzer did not go. Dartmouth gets a great come-from-behind win 75-71. The win by the Big Green makes it a four-team logjam for fourth place in the league.
After the game, Dartmouth’s Brandon-Mitchell-Day, who had a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds (his third of the season), talked about the “team fighting through adversity.” He thought the “team played hard and tough.” Dusan Neskovic’s 20 points off the bench spoke about how well the “bench played all game.” He also mentioned “a need to build off of it.” Coach Dave McLaughlin said his team “Played really hard and without fear.” He may have some lineup chances based on their last game against Yale that in the first four minutes did not look like they were going to work. But in the end, it may have been what this team needed.
Next up for the Big Green is a home game next Friday night vs Cornell.
- America East ConferenceMarch 2, 2024River Hawks Fall in OT to Minutemen, 2-1
- Radio ShowsMarch 1, 2024UMass Lowell defeats Bryant 89-67 on Senior Night
- ACCMarch 1, 2024ACC Baseball News & Notes: Wake is the Top Team in the Land
- ACCFebruary 29, 2024ACC Basketball News & Notes: Old Friends Battle for Top Spot