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Defense Shuts Down Dartmouth In 78-67 Victory

Michael Grace (
Michael Grace (

Grace, Martin Score 12 Points Apiece To Lead Yale

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Once Yale figured out how to slow down Alex Mitola, it was smooth sailing Friday against Dartmouth. Mitola scored 17 of his career-high 27 points in the first half to keep the Big Green close. The Bulldogs, though, limited him to 10 in the second half and pulled away for a 78-67 victory before 1,207 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Mitola was 6-of-8 from the field in the opening 20 minutes as Dartmouth trailed only 28-26 at the intermission.

"He was hot. That's going to happen," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "Defensively we did a much better job in the second half. It took us a little while to get going on offense, but defensively we did a really good job."

The difference was Yale held the rest of the Big Green in check. Gabas Maldunas, who scored 16 points in Dartmouth's win over Yale earlier this month in Hanover, N.H., was just 1-of-6 from the field and finished with four points. Connor Boehm, who had 10 points in the first meeting, missed all five of his shots and had only four points.

Yale, meanwhile, featured a balanced attack. Michael Grace and Sam Martin led the way with 12 points. Brandon Sherrod added 11, and five other players scored at least six points.

"We dictated the speed of the game, which we didn't do in the first game," said Grace, who was 4-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range. "We were focused on the game plan and carried it out."

The Bulldogs, who have won four of their last five games, opened the second half with an 11-2 run to seize control. The lead grew to 18, 57-39, with 7:50 left, but the Big Green refused to go away. John Golden's three-pointer pulled Dartmouth within 68-58 with 4:22 remaining.

Austin Morgan then made four straight free throws and Grace added a driving layup to seal it for Yale (11-15, 5-4 Ivy).

The victory, coupled with Cornell's loss to Penn, moved Yale into a third-place tie with Cornell. Harvard sits atop the league at 8-1. The Bulldogs host the Crimson on Saturday at 8 p.m. in a game that will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

Early on, it looked like Yale might be looking ahead to the matchup with first-place Harvard. The Big Green led 11-4 after five minutes. The Bulldogs then responded with a 19-4 run over the next 10 minutes and never relinquished the lead.

"We were focusing on the task at hand," Grace said. "Coach [Jones] always preaches that."

Mitola, who entered the night averaging just a little over 10 points, put on quite a show in the first half. He had all but three of Dartmouth's nine field goals, going 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-7 from three-point range.

Yale's depth, though, took its toll in the second half. The Bulldogs' bench outscored Dartmouth's reserves 46-14 in the game.

Yale also dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Big Green 40-26.

NOTES: Yale has now won 14 straight games against Dartmouth at Lee Amphitheater… Justin Sears led the Bulldogs with eight rebounds… Morgan was 4-of-4 from the foul line, extending his streak of consecutive made free throws to 33… It is Alumni Weekend and several former Yale players were in attendance.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity