Dartmouth all-time moment No. 2: Securing 1959 NCAA Tournament berth

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 Rudy LaRusso once had a cameo in an episode of Gilligan’s Island. 

A season after winning the Ivy League championship and winning two games in the NCAA Tournament, Dartmouth vied with Princeton for the 1959 Ivy crown. The teams split their meeting that season, the only loss either squad suffered.

So on March 7, 1959, the Indians (before they were the Big Green) and Tigers matched up in a one-game playoff at Yale to determine who would represent the conference in the NCAA tourney.

Dartmouth built a 17-point lead in the first half but led by just five at halftime and trailed 68-67 with four seconds remaining. Then Rudy LaRusso, one of the all-time Dartmouth greats, took over.

LaRusso caught the inbounds pass and scored the winning layup as time expired. According to the Daily Princetonian, students rushed the court and carried a victorious LaRusso on their shoulders. Dartmouth went on to lose to West Virginia, 82-68, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and hasn’t been back to the Big Dance since. Even so, after the game, LaRusso embarked on a 10-year NBA career with the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers and San Francisco Warriors, during which he earned five All-Star selections.

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