We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Dartmouth is next because Sea (pronounced ‘Shay’) is a great first name, .
Sure, Dartmouth has beaten Penn at the Palestra other times, but it never meant more than when the Big Green pulled it off Feb. 8, 1997, defeating the Quakers 74-70 in overtime.
At that time, Penn was coming off winning four straight Ivy titles and 4-1 in league play, while the Big Green were 4-2 and looking to sustain momentum (despite a two-point loss the previous night to eventual Ivy champion Princeton) from a veteran team featuring senior forward Sea Lonergan, senior center Brian Gilpin and senior guard (and excellent ball distributor) Kenny Mitchell.
It was Lonergan, a three-time All-Ivy selection, who made an odd game-saving move late in the contest.
Penn sophomore forward George Mboya had an open layup opportunity but was fouled first by Lonergan with 2.9 seconds left. Fortunately for Dartmouth, Mboya was a 25 percent free throw shooter and missed both foul shots, resulting in an overtime period in which the Big Green took control for good.
Though Dartmouth lost to Penn in a rematch in Hanover later in the season, the Big Green went on to finish ahead of the Quakers that season, second in the league at 10-4 in Ivy play. The 1996-97 Big Green are certainly one of the greatest Dartmouth squads in the modern era, and a dramatic win at the Palestra marked one of that team’s best moments.