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.