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:
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.
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.
That team was Cornell.
With conference play in the 2022-23 Ivy League men’s basketball season fast approaching, let’s take a look back at the nonconference results for each team and examine each program – listed by season winning percentage:
Only five points separated the top three teams in the Ivy League Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll, and our final tabulation was even tighter. Just three points separated the team atop IHO contributors’ preseason poll.
Yale gets the slight nod here, with our contributors trusting James Jones to lead the Bulldogs to their fifth Ivy League title in an eight-season span in a bid to represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament for a third straight time. Penn, the Ivy League preseason poll’s top team above Princeton by a single point, also finished a single point above Princeton in our standings. Our contributors saw potential for success in a roster that returns most of the key players from last year’s squad that placed third in the Ivy standings. We’ve got Princeton pegged to finish third, aided in their quest to repeat as Ivy League champions by returning 2021-22 Ivy Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan but losing significant backcourt production from last year’s conference title team.
Harvard was the clear No. 4 finisher in our poll, a showing that would improve upon the disappointing sixth-place result that locked the Crimson out of the Ivy League Tournament on its home floor last season. We have Cornell ranked slightly ahead of Brown as the Big Red look to build on last season’s overachieving Ivy League Tournament berth and the Bears look to bounce back from an underachieving sixth-place finish (tied with Harvard) a season ago. Columbia and Dartmouth tied in our voting tally at the bottom of the standings as both programs look to secure their first Ivy League Tournament appearances.
It was just another day at the office for James Jones and crew – until it wasn’t.
Clinging to a slim two-point lead over Columbia with just over two minutes left in the first half, Dartmouth’s trio of Aaryn Rai, Brendan Barry and Dame Adelekun took over and scored 43 of the Big Green’s final 47 points to lead the way to a 76-63 victory at Levien Gymnasium on a snowy Saturday in New York City.
When Denham Wojcik hit his first basket of the night to put Harvard up 11 with 6:50 remaining, the Crimson looked well on their way to beating Dartmouth and securing their second straight Ivy victory. Unfortunately, their travel partner got a second wind and cut the lead to one with the ball in Aaryn Rai’s hands for one last shot.