The Game: Dartmouth (5-13, 1-3) at Columbia (9-9, 1-3), Cornell (10-11, 2-2)
Location: Levien Gymnasium (2,700), New York, N.Y.; Newman Arena (4,473), Ithaca, N.Y.
Tipoff: Friday, February 8 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, February 9 at 7 p.m.
Series Record vs. Columbia: Lions lead 107-95
Series Record vs. Cornell: Tied 102-102
Live Audio - WUVR 1490 AM (Dave Collins, play-by-play)
Building on a Victory
• With the first Ivy win under its belt, Dartmouth takes to the road with its sights set on sustaining the momentum at Columbia and Cornell.
• The Big Green played one of their most complete games of the year in defeating Yale last Saturday, 71-62. Dartmouth shot 51.1 percent (23-of-45) overall and a stellar 91.7 percent (22-of-24) at the line while holding the Bulldogs to just 35.3 percent shooting.
• Four Big Green players scored in double figures, led by the squad’s leading scorer, sophomore Gabas Maldunas, with 16 points in an uncharacteristic reserve role.
• Others with at least 10 points were freshman Alex Mitola (12), sophomore John Golden (11) and freshman Connor Boehm (10) as the trio combined to convert all 16 of their foul shots.
• Unlike the Brown game on Friday in which the Green trailed for all but the first 17 seconds, Dartmouth was less than three minutes, all before five minutes had elapsed.
• If the Big Green wins both games this weekend, it would be their first sweep on an Ivy road trip since besting Penn and Princeton four years ago.
• Dartmouth has been shooting quite well of late, converting 50.3 percent over the last four games and hitting at least half in three of them.
Series vs. Columbia
• These two teams have squared off 202 times to date with the Lions leading, 107-95. Head coach Paul Cormier is 9-9 versus Columbia.
• Dartmouth has gone 15-22 in Columbia’s Levien Gymnasium since it opened in 1974.
• The Lions swept the season series last year, winning 64-62 on a bucket with 3.1 seconds left in Hanover, and 61-55 in the season finale.
• Although Columbia has won nine of the last 12 games, the last 36 encounters have been split evenly dating back to the 1994-95 season.
• Neither team has scored 70 points versus the other in the last 13 encounters, and in only four of those games did both teams reach 60.
Scouting the Lions
• Columbia, which got a huge win at Villanova back in November, has stumbled a bit in Ivy play with three straight losses after topping Cornell on the road in its league opener, though those three defeats are by a total of 13 points.
• One of the Lions’ greatest strengths is foul shooting as they lead the league at 74.8 percent, which also puts them among the top 25 nationally.
• The other thing the Lions excel at is taking care of the ball. They are sixth in the country at just 10.2 turnovers per game.
• Brian Barbour is the leading scorer at 13.6 ppg, despite shooting 35.9 percent overall and 29.5 percent on three-pointers. But at the line, he is at 89.1 percent (82-of-92), plus has an 80-28 assist-to-turnover ratio.
• Columbia has outrebounded its opponents with Mark Cisco the top Lion on the glass at 5.7 rpg.
• Both Grant Mullins and Alex Rosenberg average just over 10 points a game, while Mullins (.432) and Steve Frankoski (.466) are dead-eye three-point shooters.
• Kyle Smith (Hamilton ’92) is in his third year as head coach of the Lions with a record of 39-37 after nine years as an assistant at St. Mary’s.
Series vs. Cornell
• Dartmouth has played the Big Red 204 times entering this game, more than any other opponent, and it’s all even at 102 wins apiece.
• Two years ago Dartmouth ended a 10-game losing streak to the Big Red with a 64-57 triumph at Leede Arena. Cornell swept the series last year, 68-59 in Hanover and 70-57 in Ithaca.
• The Big Green are 7-14 versus Cornell in Newman Arena, having lost the last seven after winning five straight here.
• Dartmouth head coach Paul Cormier is 7-11 against the Big Red during his career.
Scouting the Big Red
• Cornell got off to a bit of a slow start this year, but has come on strong of last with six wins in its last nine games.
• Last weekend the Big Red suffered a 17-point loss at Princeton before rebounding to defeat Penn in The Palestra on a jumper by Galal Cancer with 10 seconds left, 71-69.
• Forward Shon Miller is the star of the team, leading Cornell on the scoreboard (10.1 ppg, .478 FG%) and glass (7.0 rpg, 3rd in Ivy), plus has 33 blocks and 38 steals.
• The Big Red will look to Eitan Chemerisnki (7.1 ppg, .667 FG%) to score down low and both Nolan Cressler (.395 3FG%) and Johnathan Gray (.351 3FG%) to provide long-distance service.
• But it was Errick Peck that was the difference against Penn, hitting all eight shots and three free throws to score 20 points.
• The defense has allowed opponents to shoot about 45 percent overall and 37 percent on three-pointers.
• Head coach Bill Courtney (Bucknell ’92) is in his third year with an overall record of 32-45. Prior to coming to Ithaca, he had assistant coaching jobs at Virginia Tech, Virginia, Providence, George Mason and Bowling Green.
Dartmouth got into the win column in league play on Feb. 2 by defeating Yale at Leede Arena by nine points, 71-62, ending a personal seven-game slide against the Bulldogs. If the Big Green can defeat Columbia on Friday, it would give them a road victory in league play and consecutive triumphs for the first time since winning at Penn and Princeton on Feb. 20-21, 2009.
In the win over Yale, the reserves played a vital and efficient role for the Big Green. Sophomore Gabas Maldunas came off the bench for just the third time all season and led the way with 16 points and eight rebounds while hitting 8-of-10 from the floor. Freshman Malik Gilldid not miss a shot with three baskets and two free throws, plus handed out a team-high four assists. All told, the bench was hit 12-of-16 field goals, grabbed 11 rebounds and recorded six steals in the win.
The Big Green have several players among the Ivy League leaders at the halfway point of the season. Malik Gill is second in steals per game (1.9), Alex Mitola is fifth in three-pointers made per game (2.1) and ninth in three-point percentage (.370), and Gabas Maldunasis sixth in rebounding (6.2 rpg) while Jvonte Brooks is seventh (5.8 rpg) and Connor Boehm ninth (5.4 rpg), not to mention seventh in field goal percentage (.504). Maldunas is also tied for fourth among Ivy players in blocks per game (1.0) and 10th in scoring (10.8 ppg).
Over the first 12 game of the season, Dartmouth shot at just a 36.2 percent clip from the floor and failing to hit even 45 percent once. But in the last six contests, the Big Green have posted big numbers, knocking down 48.5 percent of their field goals while hitting at least half in three of the games. Dartmouth has also gone 39-of-100 from behind the three-point arc in those games.
Pop-A-Shot at the Foul Line
The Big Green enjoyed their finest free throw shooting of the season in the 71-62 victory over Yale on Feb. 2, converting 22-of-24 (.917). The last time they shot that well at the charity stripe came in the final game of the 2010-11 campaign at Penn, converting 11-of-12 for an identical percentage. Both John Golden and Alex Mitola canned all six of their attempts at the line.
Since joining the starting rotation, freshman Connor Boehm has been Dartmouth’s most productive player, leading the squad in scoring (11.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg). He has shot an even 50 percent from the floor (51-of-102) and 88.2 percent (15-of-17) at the line, plus has delivered 13 assists and even picked up five steals at Harvard.
New Year’s Resolution
Apparently Tyler Melville made a resolution to do more on the court, because the junior guard has averaged 9.7 points on 55 percent shooting and 2.3 assists in the seven games in the 2013 calendar year, including a season-high 16 points and career-best six rebounds in an 80-42 victory over Colby-Sawyer.