Sports

Team splits weekend, picks up second Ivy win

By
Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The men’s basketball team split the two games on its road trip last weekend, defeating Dartmouth, 75-66, on Friday before letting a 22-point halftime lead slip away in a 85-78 defeat to Harvard the following night.

Brown 75, Dartmouth 66

The Bears (9-13, 2-6 Ivy League) picked up their second Ivy League victory with a win against a struggling Dartmouth side, dropping the Big Green to 5-16 on the season and 1-6 in league play. After taking a five-point lead at halftime, Bruno pulled ahead by as many as 12 points in the second half. Though Dartmouth drew within four points with just over six minutes left in the game, point guard Sean McGonagill ’14 connected on six of six free throws late in the contest to put the game out of reach.

The Bears have often relied on their ability to convert from the free throw line late in games — they rank second in the Ivy League with a .740 shooting percentage.

 “It’s important to hit free throws down the stretch because you can easily lose a game or blow a lead,” Adrian Williams ’11 said. “It’s good that this team has been able to focus and concentrate at the line. We have a lot of great shooters, so there’s really no reason we shouldn’t be knocking down free throws.”

As McGonagill barely missed a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, forward Tucker Halpern ’13 continued to be a driving force for the Bears. After tying his career-high with 26 points against Cornell Feb. 5, Halpern led Bruno on Friday with 25 points in addition to seven rebounds.

“He’s really starting to string together some very, very good performances,” said Head Coach Jesse Agel. “As a freshman and sophomore, if you’re pretty good, you’re going to have ups and downs. It’s hard to put up consistent numbers, and he’s starting to do that with regularity.”

Harvard 85, Brown 78

With the momentum from the win the night before, the Bears shot out of the gate against the Crimson (18-4, 7-1 Ivy League). Bruno took a 53-31 lead at the half after an impressive shooting display, connecting on 19 of 30 field goals and eight of 12 shots from beyond the arc.

But Bruno was unable to continue its domination and could do little more than watch as Harvard exploded in the second half. The Crimson outscored the Bears by a 34-11 margin and took their first lead of the game, 65-64. The Crimson went on to lead by as many as 11 points, shooting 68 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from three-point range, compared to 44.8 percent and 14.3 percent in the first half, respectively.

“They shot the daylights out of it in the second half,” Agel said. “They just made some deep threes early on in possessions. They’re a really talented team, and in the first half, I think they tried to play inside more. We didn’t share the ball and make shots as well as we did in the first half.”

McGonagill led the Bears with 18 points and seven assists, and Garrett Leffelman ’11 had an impressive outing with 14 points. Halpern and Williams added 12 points apiece.

“I think we kind of had a mixed weekend,” Williams said. “We played three halves of really good basketball, and one half of not so good basketball. It’s kind of bittersweet. It shows that we have the ability to play very well but we’ve just got to be able to stay there.”

Bruno returns home this weekend for the first two match-ups of a four-game home stand, facing Penn Friday at 7 p.m. and top-ranked Princeton the following night at 6 p.m. The Bears hope to avenge two losses from earlier in the season, though the status of forward Peter Sullivan ’11, who injured his shoulder in the team’s Jan. 28 match-up against Princeton, remains uncertain.

“Penn we lost to in overtime a couple weeks ago, and that was a really tough loss for us,” Williams said. “It was our first game playing without Peter, so hopefully he’ll be back and be able to help us out. Princeton will be a really tough game as well. They’re the best team in the league, but I think if we play well, and we play our game, we have a good chance this weekend.”

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