We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Harvard is next because why not turn fat cells into lasers?
March 6’s bout between the Yale Bulldogs and the Harvard Crimson was the rubber match of the 2015 Ivy League season. People (like me!) called it “The Game 2.0.” Yale came into Crimson territory and left with a big win, one that seemed to ensure that the Bulldogs would go to the Big Dance for the first time in 53 years. All Yale needed to clinch sole possession of the Ivy League title was a win at Dartmouth the next night, or a Harvard loss to Brown. As for Harvard, there was only one way left for them to tie Yale for the Ivy title: Defeat Brown the following night and pray for the Big Green to shock the Bulldogs in Hanover.
The Crimson took care of business at Lavietes Pavilion, beating Brown 72-62 behind a strong second-half surge. As the Harvard-Brown game ended, a group of diehard Crimson fans in Lavietes turned their attention to the Dartmouth-Yale game, which Yale led by two with 10 minutes to go. The teams battled hard until, with 24 seconds remaining, Yale led by three and had possession of the ball. Then craziness ensued.
Four Dartmouth defenders swarmed Yale guard Javier Duren, and the whistle was blown. Jump ball was the call – Dartmouth possession. Hope still flickered for the Crimson! With 14 seconds to go, Dartmouth’s Miles Wright came around a Connor Boehm screen to nail the game-tying shot. Back in Cambridge, Lavietes Pavilion (which was populated with Harvard players, their families, and a few dozen rabid fans) erupted. Duren, meanwhile, drove to the hoop and drew the shooting foul. He made one of two, giving Yale a one-point lead and making Harvard’s slim chances even slimmer. (To be exact, KenPom put Dartmouth’s chances at 1-100 at this point.) With only two seconds left, Dartmouth called timeout. Out of the huddle, Dartmouth threw a full court pass, but it ricocheted off of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears and trickled out of bounds under the Dartmouth hoop, while only milliseconds ticked off the clock. Moments later, Dartmouth’s John Golden tossed a perfect lob pass to a racing Gabas Maldunas, who caught and swished the ball in one motion, giving Harvard its fifth consecutive Ivy League title and forcing a one-game playoff with Yale the following weekend (more on that later in the countdown).
@hoopsatharvard you’re welcome
— Gabas Maldūnas (@Maldunas) March 8, 2015