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Men’s basketball falls to Harvard, completes second half comeback to beat Dartmouth

Bears move to sixth place in Ivy League with weekend split

<p>The Bear’s win against Dartmouth puts them in sixth place in the Ivy League tournament.</p>

The Bear’s win against Dartmouth puts them in sixth place in the Ivy League tournament.

The men’s basketball team (11-13, 3-6 Ivy) fell to Harvard (11-8, 3-3) Friday by a score of 65-50. Kino Lilly Jr. ’25 led Brown with 14 points and three assists. Forward Jaylan Gainey ’22 posted his second double-double of the season with 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Captain Tamenang Choh GS had six points and a game-high six assists.

The Bears got off to a slow start, shooting 1-16 in the first half. Paxson Wojcik ’23 scored the first basket of the game for either side — a jumper just inside the three-point line — but Harvard went on to score the next 19 points to hold a 19-2 lead with five minutes remaining in the half. Brown was scoreless for 15-minutes until Choh broke the scoring drought with a pair of free throws. Brown ended the first half down 29-8, which was just one point away from being the least amount of points Harvard coach Tommy Amamaker’s team has given up in the first half during his 14 seasons.

  The Bears went on a 10-3 run to open the second half. Brown scored more points in the first 2:43 of the second half than they did in all of the first half, reducing the deficit to 14 with a score of 32-18. They continued trading baskets with the Crimson and outscored them 42-36 on the half, but it was not enough to overcome the first half deficit, resulting in a 65-50 defeat.

 “They were locked in on T (Choh) and made it difficult on Kino,” said head coach Mike Martin ’04. “We're going through some adversity right now. It's going to make us stronger, but we're going through it. I told them, 'Let's embrace it.' We've got another opportunity and let's see what we can do tomorrow."

The men’s basketball team had a quick turnaround, returning to the Pizzitola Sports Center Saturday to face Dartmouth (5-14, 2-6 Ivy) in a must-win game. Trailing by six with three minutes remaining, the Bears finished the game on an 11-3 run to claim the 62-60 victory.

It was a balanced offensive effort on the night for the Bears with four players scoring in double figures. Lilly led the way with 14, while Gainey had a strong all-around performance of 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. “I feel good on the court,” said Gainey. “T (Choh) got me going and with being down six after being up 14, it was important to finish strong.”

 Wojcik added 11 points and Choh contributed 10 points with a game-high six assists. Both of them came up big when it mattered most, completing the Bears’ late second half comeback at the charity stripe. Trailing by six with under two minutes remaining, Kino Lilly’s three-pointer cut the deficit to three and was followed by a pair of free throws by Wojcik to make it a one-point game with 1:46 left on the clock. The two sides then traded 1-for-2 trips to the free throw line before Choh hit both of his free throws to give the Bears a 59-58 lead.

  “There was definitely a momentum shift,” said Wojcik. “We rallied as a team and, like coach said, we came out there believing we were gonna win that game.”  The biggest defensive possession of the game for the Bears followed Choh’s clutch free throws, with key defensive plays by Kimo Ferrari ’24, David Mitchell ’22 and Wojcik playing lockdown perimeter defense to force the Big Green into a desperation three. The shot fell well short of the rim and bounced out of bounds with just 20 seconds to play.

  Choh was fouled on the next possession, hitting two more free throws to take a three-point lead at 61-59. After a free throw by each side, a long pass to Noah Meren ’22 drained the final few seconds off the clock as the Bears escaped with the victory.

“I’m just really pleased with our players,” said Martin. “They found a way to win this one and I’m really proud of them for coming out strong.” 

The win puts Brown at sixth place in the Ivy League, battling for a spot in the Ivy League tournament, where the top four teams of the conference advance. Keeping their must-win mentality, the Bears will travel to Cornell Saturday for an important contest.


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