Sports

McGonagill ’14 pours in 26, can’t carry men’s basketball in OT

In final weekend as a Bear, McGonagill averages 21 points, seven rebounds

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, March 10, 2014

A long season for the men’s basketball team culminated in two single-digit losses this weekend. The Bears (15-13, 7-7 Ivy) ended the year on a three-game skid, losing to both Dartmouth and Harvard in the Pizzitola Center.

 

Friday: Dartmouth 75, Brown 68

The Big Green (12-16, 5-9) came to Providence having won just its third conference game last Saturday, but the squad played as if it was a game away from the Ivy title.

“We were out-hustled, out-worked, out-played and out-coached for 40 minutes,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04. “I have to give Dartmouth a lot of credit. In basketball, the team that wants it more and is hungrier is going to win the game, and they certainly were that team tonight.”

Dartmouth jumped out to an early 15-6 lead on a trey from Tyler Melville. The senior guard dropped a game-high 23 points on 6-of-12 shooting from three-point land.

With a minute remaining in the first half, the Bears took their first lead since the opening minutes on a three-point play from Steven Spieth ’17. Spieth finished with 12 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals, capping off another strong, all-around game for the rookie.

Coming out of the break, Dartmouth quickly regained control of the lead thanks to Connor Boehm, who knocked down two jumpers and a layup to give the Big Green a five-point advantage. Boehm foiled Bruno’s defensive schemes all night, knocking down a number of long two-pointers that forced the Bears’ forwards to come away from the paint and contest his shots.

After the first media timeout of the half, Bruno got its act together. Norman Hobbie ’17 drained a triple to cut the lead to two. After Dartmouth inbounded the ball, Spieth forced a turnover, which led to a one-handed throwdown by Cedric Kuakumensah ’16. Seconds later, Spieth stole the ball again, this time leading to a Sean McGonagill ’14 three-pointer and a three-point Bruno lead.

With 14 minutes left in the game, Dartmouth’s Kevin Crescenzi got his feet tangled up on a fast break, sending him face-first into the hardwood floor. Blood spurted from his nose, and play was halted for several minutes before he was escorted off the court. Showing grit and toughness, Crescenzi returned to the game minutes later with two nose-plugs dangling from his nostrils. He finished the contest with five points in 11 minutes of play.

Dartmouth, meanwhile, took the lead back from the Bears and would not relinquish it for the remainder of the game. Hobbie banked in a layup, bringing Bruno within two with just 30 seconds to go. But clutch free-throw shooting from Melville and Alex Mitola sealed the Big Green’s victory.

“There weren’t too many times in that game when I felt like our defense was dictating what they were going to do,” Martin said. “That’s the goal of our defense, to dictate what teams do on offense. That wasn’t the case tonight.”

 

Saturday: Harvard 98, Brown 93 (OT)

A crowd of over 2,000 fans showed up for free t-shirts and senior night festivities as the Bears took on the Crimson in the final game of the regular season. Harvard (26-4, 13-1) had already clinched a berth to the NCAA tournament with a win over Yale (15-13, 9-5) the night before but still competed fiercely.

“They’re the champions of our league, and there’s a reason for that,” Martin said. “They showed it down the stretch in regulation and in overtime. … They’re 13-1 for a reason.”

The Bears began the game with an unconventional lineup. Leland King ’17 started another game for the injured Rafael Maia ’15, and Josh Biber ’14 made his first appearance of the Ivy season in place of Tavon Blackmon ’17. McGonagill ran the point, a role he had played for much of his career before moving to shooting guard this season, while Biber played four minutes at the other guard position before Blackmon replaced him.

A high-scoring half ended with Harvard up 50-44, just three fewer than the two teams’ combined total when they last met in Cambridge Feb. 7.

King and McGonagill carried the squad offensively, contributing 30 of the team’s 44 first-half points. King finished the game with a career-high 27 points, seven boards and four blocks.

Late in the second half, Blackmon hit a free throw to give Bruno a one-point lead, 85-84. But Siyani Chambers came down the floor and drilled a trey, prompting a timeout from Martin. The Bears drew up a play that ended with King taking a spinning hook shot that found the bottom of the net, tying the game at 87 with 32 seconds left. With the shot clock turned off, Chambers hoisted a wild turnaround jumper that fell short, and the Pizzitola erupted as the game went into overtime.

In the extra period, Harvard took a two-point lead on a pair of free throws from Wesley Saunders. On the other end of the floor, Blackmon slipped driving to the basket and turned the ball over. Harvard called a timeout to draw up the play that would decide the game.

Chambers and Steve Moundou-Missi ran a pick and roll at the top of the key. Chambers drove left and stalled, as Moundou-Missi set a screen on Hobbie, who was guarding Laurent Rivard. Rivard, Harvard’s three-point specialist, darted to the top of the key, received the ball from Chambers and sank a three that silenced the Pizzitola Center.

The Bears had a little magic left in them, as McGonagill knocked down a fade-away trey off a long inbounds play, drawn up perfectly by Martin. But Bruno could not foul the Crimson quickly enough, as Chambers dropped in an uncontested layup to solidify Harvard’s seventh road win of the Ivy season.

McGonagill stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals — a performance Bears fans have become accustomed to seeing from the four-year starter. In his final game, the senior eclipsed Jason Forte ’05 on the all-time scoring list to become the third-most prolific scorer in Brown’s history.

McGonagill leaves behind a slew of concrete school records — most three-pointers made in a career as well as a season, most career starts and second-most assists in Brown history. But McGonagill said he will most miss the team he had the opportunity to be a part of this season.

“I’m just sad,” McGonagill said, with tears in his eyes during the post-game press conference. “I’ve had an amazing time here, I’ve developed great friends on this team and I’ve enjoyed playing with everyone, playing for (Assistant Head Coach) T.J. Sorrentine and Coach Martin. I honestly would never change a thing.”