The Big Greens beat last year’s Ivy League champions, the Bulldogs, for the first time since Friday night in 2015.
Source: Courtesy of Dame Adelekun
Source: Courtesy of Dame Adelekun
Dusan Neskovic ’24 stopped ESPN play-by-play commentator Justin Gallantly for Dartmouth’s Friday night game against Yale midway through his first post-game question.
Prior to Friday night, the Bulldogs had won the final 12 games of the series. Nescovich, unlike Galantry, did not know it.
“Well, really?” Nescovich fought back, stunning the ESPN crew.
But for Nescovich and the Big Green team, the past matters little.
After the 81-77 win over Yale, head coach David McLaughlin told the team in the locker room, “We need to develop this further.” [in] Form an identity and begin to form an identity. ”
When Gallantry finally asked Nescovich about his night — a career-best 24-point performance — the 6’7-inch forward responded confidently.
“I think I played really aggressive,” he said. “My mindset was to be aggressive on the board and aggressive on the shot.”
Nescovich was true to his word, shooting a perfect 4-4 from behind the arc while also grabbing six rebounds to match the score. His other 12 points came from converting 6 of 7 free throws and 3 of 6 shots inside the arc.
“[Neskovic]is probably the most talented player on our team from a pure talent standpoint,” said Dame Adelekun ’23. “I felt it was a showcase of what he could do on a consistent level with just his size and scoring ability. So I think he was killing it. He played the game of his career.” I feel like I do and I’m really happy for him.”
Big Green stepped up on both offense and defense with Friday’s win, giving Yale its first home loss of the season for virtually the entire second half. They dominated conference play with a 0-2 record.
Big Green wants to improve to 1-1 in Ivy League play and put a 5-11 overall record (not related to Ivy League tournaments) behind the team.
Nescovich’s scoring was the highlight of Dartmouth’s attacking output, but was aided by strong performances from the players around him, including Ryan Cornish ’25’s 18 and Adelekun’s 13.
“You need that to win a game against a really, really, really good team,” McLaughlin said of their effort before focusing on Nescovich. , [Neskovic] Especially… I was happy with him and proud of how he approached it.
Dartmouth controlled the second half on the way to put the game away, but came and went early on. Both teams were evenly matched in the early minutes and he saw seven lead changes in the first 20 minutes of the match.
Yale were up six with 7:30 left in the first half and trailed by six again with 6:50 remaining, but Big Green made two 3-pointers and two jumpers to put together a 10-0 run to give Dartmouth the lead. gave 28 points. -24 lead with just under four minutes left. However, Yale fought back, giving Dartmouth a narrow 34–33 lead at halftime.
“I had a chip on my shoulder that match,” Adelkun said. “Last year we lost two very tough games to Yale and…before the game I told everyone that I hadn’t won a game in Yale’s gym since I came to Dartmouth…every time Yale fought back. At the time, we knew we had to fight back in some way, and we were ready to do whatever was necessary.”
Two free throws put the Bulldogs up by one at the start of the second half, but it was the last time Dartmouth trailed. Adelekun’s quick layup gave Dartmouth the momentum to carry on for the rest of the match.
“We maintained our lead,” McLaughlin said. “Anytime they ran, we endured it… I thought we really had an identity there, in addition to making the free throw at the end. I’m really proud of my players.”
The game’s biggest lead comes when Dartmouth rises by 7 with just over 10 minutes remaining. The rest of the game was largely a free-throw contest, and Yale tied it after missing several Big Green free-throws. Eventually Dartmouth regained their composure and finished the game.
“We need to get better at the free throws here and there, but as the season progresses we’ll do better,” said Nescovich. “I think we played a very tough game overall. That’s what we have to move forward. It has to define us.”
Its grit especially shone on the defensive end, as Big Green scored 16 points from forced turnovers and held Yale to a below-average field goal percentage of 43.4%.
“We’ve been playing tougher basketball consistently for 40 minutes and I think that’s showing the results,” Nescovich said. bottom.”
After the big win, McLaughlin and team noted the importance of staying focused on the future ahead of the next day’s fight with Brown in Providence, Rhode Island.
“We’ve got to get a little bit of rest tonight,” McLaughlin said after the game. A team, and a team ready to attack us.”
Unfortunately, Dartmouth couldn’t keep up the momentum and dropped Saturday’s hard-fought clash with the Bears by a score of 77-70. Dartmouth kept the game tight early on, but extended their lead to seven points at the half after a hot stretch by Brown to close out the first. The Bears didn’t relinquish that lead, and at most he extended his lead to 17 points.
Despite a strong performance from Adelekun (17 points on 8-13 shooting) and great shooting from Nescovich, Cornish and Isaiah Robinson ’24, Big Green made eight 3s in 15 attempts. Latter half.
Despite that loss, the team will look to continue what went well with Yale’s win.
“Honestly, I think we’re just getting started,” Nescovich said. “I think this is what we have to nurture and bring us together. It’s just the beginning.”
Big Green has a chance to equalize the tournament record next court at home on January 14 against the University of Pennsylvania, currently No. 3 in the Ivy League.