M. hoops still winless in Ivy

By
Monday, February 9, 2009

The men’s basketball team (6-14, 0-6 Ivy League) struggled over the weekend, pushing its losing streak to six games. After falling to Dartmouth (6-14, 4-2 Ivy) in a 63-61 overtime loss on Friday night, the Bears suffered a 64-63 loss on a last-second free throw by Harvard’s ( 10-10, 2-4 Ivy) Jeremy Lin. With the two losses, Brown remains winless in league play under first-year Head Coach Jesse Agel.

Dartmouth 63, Brown 61 (OT)

At Dartmouth, the first half saw five lead changes and neither team was able to build a lead of more than five points. After Brown took a 19-18 lead, the Big Green went on a 6-0 run to grab a 24-19 lead with 6:36 remaining in the first half. But tri-captain Scott Friske ’09 scored seven consecutive points to give Bruno a 26-24 lead, and Brown closed out the first half clinging to a 28-27 lead.

Friske, who had nine first-half points, finished with a team-high 19 points and 13 rebounds against Dartmouth. Tri-captain Peter Sullivan ’11 led the way for Brown with 12 points in the first half, including two three-pointers, and he finished the game with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting.

“I went and worked with the coaches a lot this week to get my confidence in my shot back,” Sullivan said. “I started shooting better in practice, and that carried over into the game.”

Dartmouth started off the second half with a jumper to go up 29-28, and the Big Green held the lead until Sullivan knocked down a jumper off the assist from Friske to give the Bears a 34-33 lead with 14:49 left. Following Sullivan’s go-ahead jumper, Dartmouth answered right back with an 8-0 run, which included a pair of three-pointers from the Big Green’s Alex Barnett.

Barnett, who entered the game as the Ivy League’s leading scorer at 19.2 points per game, was virtually unstoppable in the second half, pouring in 20 of his game-high 28 points. He went 11-of-21 from the field on the night, and knocked down five treys, including four in the second half.

Brown finally got the lead back with 3:36 left in regulation when Matt Mullery ’10 sank two free throws to make the score 52-50, but 40 seconds later Barnett tied it up with

a jumper.

On the next two possessions, tri-captain Chris Skrelja ’09 sank a pair of free throws and Sullivan hit one of two. The free throws gave Brown a three-point lead, but with 57 seconds left, Barnett connected from behind the arc to send the game into overtime.

Down 62-61 with 11 seconds left in overtime, the Bears had a chance to win, but Dartmouth’s Robby Pride came up with a big steal to end the possession. Pride got fouled and made one of two from the line, leaving Brown down two with just two seconds left. Friske’s full-court pass looking for a last-second miracle was picked off, and Dartmouth escaped with the win.

Harvard 64, Brown 63

The following night, the Bears controlled the game throughout the first half, as Sullivan scored 15 of his 20 points to lead Bruno to a 32-20 halftime lead over Harvard.

But in the second half, the Crimson turned things around behind a scoring outburst from Jeremy Lin, who leads Harvard with 19.0 points per game this season. Lin made national headlines earlier this season when he scored 27 points in an upset win over Boston College on Jan. 7.

After being held to just five points in the first half, Lin erupted for 22 points after intermission, including three treys.

“Our defense was still good in the second half, but they started making real tough shots,” Sullivan said. “I think we also started to feel some fatigue after a long, hard game against Dartmouth, and another hard game at Harvard.”

As good as Lin was, Mullery was equally impressive for Brown. After sitting out much of the first half because of foul trouble, Mullery scored 21 of his team-high 27 points in the second half to keep the Bears in the game. Following a disappointing effort against Dartmouth, in which he went 3-of-14 from the floor, Mullery, who leads the team with 16.1 points per game this season, dominated the paint on Saturday, knocking down 13-of-16 field goal attempts.

Mullery’s 27 points were a career high.

“I sat out a lot of the first half, so I got back in fresh in the second half, ready to go hard for 20 minutes,” Mullery said. “I was fortunate to have a good shooting night, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

A layup by Mullery gave Bruno a 54-46 lead with just over seven minutes remaining, but the Crimson fought back to cut Brown’s lead to two points. With 2:57 left, Lin drained a three to put Harvard up 57-56, its first lead of the game.

Mullery hit a layup to regain the lead 19 seconds later, and Adrian Williams ’11 expanded the lead to four with a three-pointer with 2:12 remaining. The Crimson came back to tie the game at 61, then Mullery made another layup with 55

seconds left.

With 40 seconds left, Lin hit two free throws to tie it up. After a missed shot attempt on Brown’s possession, Lin was fouled on his last-second shot attempt, and he drained a free throw with no time left on the clock to give Harvard the 64-63 victory.

Coming off a five-game road stretch, Brown will look to get its season back on track when the Bears return to the Pizzitola Center this weekend to take on Penn on Friday and Princeton on Saturday.

“We’ve got to be persistent,” Mullery said. “It would be easy for us to go in the tank right now, but we’re a team that has a lot of character. We’re right there, and we can win games – it’s just a matter of staying positive and working hard

in practice.”