Heading into its final road weekend of the season, the men’s basketball team looked to avenge previous home losses to Dartmouth and Harvard. Against the Big Green, the Bears (12-16, 3-9 Ivy) found their rhythm, snapping a five-game losing streak and securing an 80-75 win. But against the Crimson, despite co-captain JR Hobbie ’17 tying the Brown record for career three-pointers, the Bears fell 77-58.
The Bears were firing from the starting whistle against the Big Green (6-19, 3-9). In the first nine minutes, Brown put up a 22-10 lead on Dartmouth, with three-pointers from Hobbie, co-captain Tavon Blackmon ’17 and Obi Okolie ’19.
The Bears only continued this blitz as the half progressed, going on a 10-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 34-12 lead. But Dartmouth fought back, closing the gap to 38-27 by the close of the first half.
“We played great defense,” said starting forward Travis Fuller ’19. “We had a great start to the game and came in with a lot of energy. We were playing unselfish basketball, and everyone was giving multiple efforts on both ends of the floor.”
Over the course of the second half, both Bruno and the Big Green exchanged blows on offense. But thanks to the cushion that Brown built during the first half, the Big Green could only chip away at Brown’s lead over the second period. With 2:33 remaining, the Bears held a nine-point advantage at 78-67.
But Dartmouth rallied, going on a 8-0 run fueled by five points from Taylor Johnson, which cut the lead to just three with under a minute remaining. Brown retook control after Hobbie iced the game at the free throw line, securing the win.
“It was nice to get a win,” Fuller said. “The atmosphere after a win is awesome.”
Blackmon and Steven Spieth ’17 led Bruno offensively, each netting 14 points on the day. Spieth, who currently leads the Ivy League in minutes per game, also tied the Brown record for games started in a career, with 114. Overall, the Bears bested the Big Green in field goal percentage, rebounds, assists and points in the paint to cap a convincing showing.
The Bears looked to continue this momentum into their Saturday evening matchup against Harvard.
“I wouldn’t say it’s hard to bounce back,” Fuller said. “We were ready to go.”
But Brown started slow, allowing the Crimson to build an 11-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game. The Bears were able to shrink this lead to seven after three-pointers from Spieth and Hobbie, but Harvard’s offense remained unrelenting and built a 40-23 lead with 3:06 left in the first half.
With his 249th career three-pointer at 1:49 in the stanza, Hobbie tied the program record, providing some much needed energy for the Bears as the team entered halftime down 48-30.
Fuller remarked that watching Hobbie hit this career milestone “was awesome” for everyone on the Brown team.
“We have two games left to get him that record, so it’ll be a great moment for him,” Fuller said. “The guy is a gym rat.”
But the 18-point halftime lead proved insurmountable for the Bears. In the first 10 minutes of the second half, Spieth contributed six points alone, with help from Fuller — who led Brown with eight rebounds — and Okolie. The Bears kept pace with Harvard for the second half but ultimately fell 77-58.
The Bears will finish the regular season this weekend with two games at home against Columbia Friday and Cornell Saturday. After this weekend, the Bears now share a three-way tie for sixth in the Ivy League standings. With three conference wins, Bruno currently sits two games behind Columbia and Penn, who both currently share the fourth place spot in the conference. “The vibe is still strong,” Fuller said. “We want to end this season going 2-0. We’re a very close group, so every chance that us 15 players get to play together, we’re not gonna take it for granted.”