That was Yale coach James Jones’ observation about how his Bulldogs engineered a 72-53 win at Dartmouth Saturday to even the season series and stay within a game of Princeton in the Ivy League title chase.
“[W]e were able to put some stops together to end the first half, which gave us momentum coming out of halftime,” Jones said. “Outside of a five-minute stretch offensively in the first half, we played perfectly.”
A career-first triple-double performance from senior forward Kaitlyn Davis helped ensure Columbia never trailed in a dominant 79-50 victory against Dartmouth Saturday at Levien Gym.
The Lions (17-3, 6-1 Ivy) entered the game as one of three teams in the country to use the same starting lineup all season. That changed against Dartmouth (2-19, 0-7) as coach Megan Griffith decided to rest sophomore guard Kitty Henderson due to a minor injury. Senior guard Carly Rivera made her first start of the season.
“Going into this week not knowing if she [Kitty] was going to be in or not, we just made sure everybody understood who’s going to take those points, who’s going to take those rebounds, who’s going to take those assists,” Griffith said. “And so them understanding the total team buy-in of, one of us falls down, we all pick it up as a group.”
Our George “Toothless Tiger” Clark weighs in on Princeton men’s forward Caden Pierce being named Ivy Rookie of the Week after coming through in the clutch in the Tigers’ overtime win over Dartmouth Saturday:
Ivy Hoops Online writer George “Toothless Tiger” Clark reflects on an instant classic in which the Princeton men pulled out a 93-90 overtime victory over Dartmouth at Jadwin Gym Saturday, including clutch plays by Princeton freshmen down the stretch and one of the most impressive performances by a visiting player that our Toothless Tiger has ever seen:
Ivy Hoops Online writer George “Toothless Tiger” Clark recaps the Princeton women’s 79-59 win at Dartmouth, a harder-fought battle than many might have expected between the Tigers (13-5, 4-2 Ivy) and the Big Green (2-18, 0-6):
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.
Four starters scored in double figures to push the Penn women to a convincing 69-57 win over Dartmouth Saturday afternoon. It’s the 11th win in a row for Penn (12-5, 4-0 Ivy), the last 10 of them in the friendly confines of the Palestra.
The young Dartmouth team (2-16, 0-4) showed potential that belies its record and its position as the Ancient Eighth. Still, Penn led all the way, and the game was never in serious doubt after the first quarter, when the Quakers built an 18-10 lead. A three by Dartmouth junior guard Mekkena Boyd cut the Penn lead to six early in the third quarter, but junior forward Jordan Obi answered with a three of her own, and the lead never dropped below nine again.
Penn men’s basketball is going to have a long, long bus ride home from Hanover, N.H.
The Quakers threw away a 13-point second half lead and made a series of critical errors in crunch time en route to a 75-71 loss to Dartmouth at Leede Arena.
The defeat at Dartmouth (6-12, 2-2 Ivy) was painfully reminiscent of Penn’s collapses against Saint Joseph’s and La Salle in Big 5 play. In all three contests, Penn (9-9, 2-2) threw away games against inferior opponents it should have easily defeated.
Saturday’s turning point came with about 99 seconds remaining and Penn holding the ball up one, 71-70. Steve Donahue had called timeout to get junior guard Clark Slajchert back in the game for an offense-defense substitution.
Almost immediately after the ball was inbounded, Slajchert used his shoulder to create a little separation from Dartmouth sophomore guard Ryan Cornish, then hoisted a contested three-pointer after just five seconds had come off the shot clock. The ball caught front iron with no Quakers having a prayer at corralling an offensive rebound.
The shot was one Slajchert could hit, but it was far from the best look Penn could have gotten on that possession given the time and score. The Quakers surrendered a game-winning floater from Big Green junior forward Dusan Neskovic 20 seconds after the miss.
But Slajchert wasn’t alone in suboptimal decision-making among the Red and Blue Saturday afternoon:
Yale men’s basketball was the clear favorite to claim a fifth Ivy League regular-season crown in the last seven seasons under James Jones.
Suddenly, though, the Bulldogs are 0-2 in Ivy play.
“For the last two hours, I did not see anything which resembled Yale basketball, and tip your cap to Dartmouth,” Jones said after his Bulldogs lost to Dartmouth, 81-77, at John J. Lee Amphitheater Friday night.
Yale had not given up more than 72 points in a game all season.
In fact, Yale (10-5, 0-2) hadn’t lost consecutive Ivy games since March 2019 and had not lost to Dartmouth since March 7, 2015, a game that opened the door for Harvard to tie Yale atop the Ivy standings and win an Ivy playoff game to nab its most recent NCAA Tournament berth.
Dartmouth (5-11, 1-1) held a narrow 34-33 lead at the half. Yale’s shooting woes from three-point land carried over from the Columbia loss last Friday, as the home team shot 0-for-8 from deep in the half. The Bulldogs finished 2-for-14 (14.3%).
Yale fell behind by as many as seven in the second half (54-47) but knotted the score at 58 on a Matt Knowling shot from close range.
Dartmouth then pulled ahead, 77-71. Yale cut it to 79-76 with junior guard August Mahoney on the free throw line with under five seconds remaining. Mahoney made the first and intentionally missed the second, but he committed a lane violation. Then the visitors added two free throws to seal the win.
“Winning games on the road is extremely hard,” Dartmouth coach David McLaughlin said. “We executed well.”
Dartmouth junior forward Dusan Neskovic posted 24 points on 7-for-10 field-goal shooting, including 4-for-4 from three-point range, in a standout performance. Sophomore guard Ryan Cornish contributed 18 points in just 23 minutes.
There were nine ties and nine lead changes.
“We tried to mix up our defenses,” Jones said. “Our team defense was not there.”
Yale was led in scoring by Knowling with 17 points. Sophomore guard Bez Mbeng had 15 and Mahoney 13. Both Mbeng and fellow sophomore guard John Poulakidas fouled out.
Yale is next in action Saturday night at home against Harvard. Dartmouth visits Providence to take on Brown after its overtime loss to Harvard there Friday night.
It felt like a typical Ivy League game — hard-fought and not always pretty. But from the moment the Cornell and Dartmouth men tipped Sunday afternoon, it immediately felt like whoever had the most grit would walk away with a 1-0 conference record.