After splitting a series against Yale last weekend, the men’s basketball team bested Dartmouth on a buzzer-beating bucket from Zach Hunsaker ’20 Friday night before falling to Harvard Saturday.
The Bears, who are now 2-2 in the Ivy League, are tied for 4th place, positioning them to make a run at the 2018 Ivy League Men’s Basketball Tournament in March.
Brown 64, Dartmouth 62
The Bears’ thrilling victory after Hunsaker’s game-winning basket will not soon be forgotten by Brown fans and players alike.
“It was a great moment,” Hunsaker said. “It was definitely a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life, for sure.”
The Bears (9-8, 2-2 Ivy) were ready to play from the opening tip, and posted 63 percent field goal shooting en route to an early 13-2 lead just five minutes into the game. Dartmouth (4-13, 0-4) went just 0 for 6 on field goals in the same window.
Bruno continued to dominate the Big Green as the first half continued and led 37-24 at halftime. Brandon Anderson ’20 paved the way, scoring nine first-half points. Desmond Cambridge ’21 notched eight points, including an alley-oop dunk that sent the Brown crowd into a frenzy. The team shot 43 percent from the field and managed to grab 23 rebounds.
The Big Green heated up at the beginning of the second half, clawing its way back into the contest and narrowing Bruno’s lead to just one with 2:50 to play. Dartmouth continued to play strong defense to force missed shots and get the ball back at a one-point deficit with 15 seconds to go in the game. Will Emery was fouled with seven seconds remaining, and made his first free throw to tie the game at 62.
“We didn’t play a great second half,” said Head Coach Mike Martin ’04. “Our first 20 minutes were outstanding and put us in a position where we were able to hold them off despite getting outplayed in the second half.”
Emery missed his second shot at the charity stripe, and Hunsaker got the ball and began to sprint down the length of the court against Dartmouth’s transition defense. Hunsaker glided through traffic, and launched a strongly defended shot from the right side of the court that hit the backboard and rolled through the basket as the buzzer sounded. The shot fueled Brown’s 64-62 victory and sent the student section rushing onto the court.
“I’m not ever going to be upset after a win, especially in the Ivy League,” Martin said.
Brown finished the game shooting 38 percent from the field, with 38 rebounds and six steals. Anderson led scoring with 17 points, followed by Hunsaker who recorded 12 points.
Brown 77, Harvard 86
The Crimson (9-10, 4-0) entered the contest Saturday on a sixteen-game winning streak against the Bears, and came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. Harvard raced to a 13-0 lead in the first three minutes and shot three for three from beyond the arc.
But Bruno was determined to work its way back into the game. After shutting down Harvard on offense, Brown’s shooters began to heat up. Tamenang Choh ’21 electrified the Pizzitola Sports Center with a thunderous alley-oop dunk to pull Brown within four points of the Crimson.
At the half, Harvard led Brown 37-33. Both Anderson and Obi Okolie ’20 finished the half with nine points, and the team shot 41 percent from the field.
As the second half began, lights-out shooting from Seth Towns gave the Crimson a 15 point lead. Towns would finish the game with 30 points.
“Towns took over in the second half,” Martin said. “When they extended their lead to 15, a lot of that was because of him.”
But Cambridge would not let the Bears go down quietly. His two powerful dunks and three three-point bombs put the Bears back into the game and slimmed the Harvard lead to five with 11 minutes to play.
“In the huddles, we just had to keep hustling and keep playing because the game is never over until it’s over,” Cambridge said. “I just had to make some shots, but it’s tough.”
After going down by 12 with four minutes to play following Danilo Djuricic’s three-pointer, the Bears once again shot their way back into the contest, but could not complete the comeback attempt and fell 86-77.
Cambridge finished leading all Brown scorers with 22 points, followed by Anderson with 19 points. The Bears shot 41 percent from the field, grabbed 28 rebounds and recorded 24 points in the paint.
The Bears will take to the road next weekend, facing Penn Friday and Princeton Saturday.