Dartmouth men’s basketball nabs first Ivy League win of season, 75-71, over Brown

Another weekend of Brown men’s basketball, another tale of two halves.

The Bears took a big lead in the opening frame and held off a furious Harvard rally two weeks ago.  Last weekend, Bruno was the team making the oh-so-close comeback after Cornell jumped out to a big league.

This Saturday, the Bears were up 14 in the first half and 11 at the break, but Dartmouth completed the comeback to earn a hard-fought 75-71 Alumni Day win at Leede Arena.

The Big Green’s first Ancient Eight victory on the season for Dartmouth (5-12, 1-3 Ivy), coupled with other Saturday afternoon results, tied them with Brown (5-14, 1-3), Columbia, Harvard and Penn for fourth place.

Brown used hot shooting and physical defense to jump out to a 25-11 lead halfway through the first half.

The Green then went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes, including two triples from Dusan Neskovic and one from Brandon Mitchell-Day to make it a five-point game.

The Bears went on its own 7-0 run to make it 32-20 with three minutes to go and eventually went into the locker room up 37-26.

Brown went up 13 on a Nana Owusu-Anane steal and slam 30 seconds into the half, but Dartmouth chipped away at the lead and a Jaren Johnson coast-to-coast turnaround jumper made it a 46-41 game with 13:20 to go in regulation.

After another Owusu-Anane dunk put Brown back up eight a minute later, the Big Green went on an 8-1 run, capped by a Neskovic old-fashioned three-point play, to make it 52-51 at the midpoint of the closing frame.

The Bears recovered and went up seven, 65-58, at the six-minute mark, but Dartmouth would not go away.

The Big Green scored the next five points to make it 65-63 and then Owusu-Anane committed a flagrant-one foul on Mitchell-Day off a missed Aaron Cooley triple with 3:39 to go.

The sophomore forward from St. Louis hit one of two free throws and junior guard Romeo Myrthil hit a baby hook shot over Lilly to give Dartmouth its first lead since 3-2.

The teams traded the lead two more times, and the game was eventually tied at 71 with 57 seconds left on the clock.

Mitchell-Day was again fouled by Owusu-Anane on the next possession and made both free throws to put Dartmouth two, 73-71.

With less than 30 seconds remaining, Kimo Ferrari missed a three-pointer from the right elbow, but Lilly came down with the rebound and missed his own triple from the left elbow.

The Ivy League’s leading scorer grabbed the ball as it was going out of bounds, but Lilly midair pass went into the Myrthil’s hands under the basket.

Myrthil quickly found a streaking and unguarded Mitchell-Day who went in for the game-clinching slam dunk.

The Green were strong from the three-point line all day, hitting 56% (5-for-9) in the opening half and 64% (7-for-11) in the second stanza. The hosts struggled from inside the arc in the first 20 minutes, making only 23% (5-for-21), but shot a huge 63% (10-for-16) in the closing frame.

Brown, meanwhile, shot 69% from two (9-for-13) in the first half, but could only manage 33% from three in both halves (4-for-12, 5-for-15) and 42% (5-for-12) from two in the decisive second half.

Mitchell-Day, the KenPom MVP of the game, ended the afternoon with a career-high double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, both career-highs. Neskovic, the team’s leading scorer, finished with 20 points and Myrthil had eight points, seven rebounds and four assists.

In the losing effort, Owusu-Anane totaled 20 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block, while senior forward Malachi Ndur came off the bench to add 14 points. Lilly also finished with 14 points, but went 0-for-6 from the field and scored three points in the second half.

Following Dave McLaughlin’s 250th career victory as a head coach, Dartmouth will close out a four-game homestand with games on Friday against league-leading Cornell and a Saturday tilt against Columbia. Mike Martin’s Bears will head back to Providence and look for more consistency in games against Penn and Princeton.