Despite having its double-digit second half lead methodically erased by Harvard, Dartmouth prevented the Crimson from getting off a last-possession shot and came away with a 60-59 victory at Lavietes Pavilion on Monday afternoon.
In the opening weeks of Ivy play, the Big Green (7-12, 3-2 Ivy) are the conference’s most pleasant surprise. Picked seventh in the preseason media poll, Dartmouth now has wins against the No. 1 (Penn), No. 2 (Yale) and No. 4 (Harvard) ranked teams.
The Green kept their hot hand from Saturday’s late comeback against Penn, hitting seven of their first 12 and opening up a 17-7 lead over Harvard (11-8, 2-3) by the second media timeout. As if things weren’t going well enough for Dartmouth, Chris Ledlum, Harvard’s top player, managed to pick up two personal fouls in that same time.
Ledlum was charged with his third foul at the 8:30 mark and spent the rest of the half on the bench.
While things could have gotten out of hand for the home team, the Crimson locked down defensively and battled back. They cut the lead to five before an Izaiah Robinson buzzer-beating three from the right baseline gave Dartmouth the 34-26 advantage at the break.
Within the first two-plus minutes of the second stanza, the Big Green extended their lead to 14 and Ledlum was back on the bench with his fourth foul.
Again, the Crimson regrouped and stormed back.
Backed by 11 straight points from Evan Nelson midway through the half and Idan Tretout’s personal 7-0 run over the last few minutes of regulation, Harvard found itself down one with the ball in their hands and 16 ticks on the clock.
Unfortunately for the Crimson, Dartmouth blocked all their offensive options and the comeback fell short.
Ryan Cornish led the way for the victors with 16 points, including a 3-for-4 effort from beyond the arc, while Dame Adelekun had 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting and was one rebound shy of a double-double. Brandon Mitchell-Day also added 11 points on 4-fpr-5 from the field and 3-for-5 from the charity stripe.
For Harvard, Nelson had a game-high 19 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 at the line, and Tretout totaled 12 points.
In an even battle between the two long-time travel partners, the most telling numbers on the day were the seven points (all in the first five-plus minutes of the game), five rebounds, four fouls and 17 minutes for Ledlum, the league’s second-best scorer and top rebounder.
Dartmouth will travel to Princeton next Saturday to look for the clean sweep of the Ivy preseason poll’s top half. Harvard, meanwhile, will finish its three-game homestand and try to get back to .500 as it welcomes league-leading Cornell that same day.