Men's Hoopsters Stun Princeton
The deciding play was especially beautiful, considering its simplicity.
And it was poetic justice that Dartmouth's two seniors determined the outcome.
Trailing, 56-55, and with a whole season's worth of frustration on the minds of the Leede Arena crowd, the Big Green used a screen-and-roll play to perfection.
There were 27 seconds on the clock when Greg Buth (Edina, Minn.) - from the top of the key - fired the ball to Ian McGinnis (New York, N.Y.). The 6-8, 245 lb. McGinnis drove to his right and kissed the ball off the glass for what proved to be the winning basket.
Princeton, who had come to Hanover with a spotless 4-0 Ivy record, set up its final play during a timeout. When senior Nate Walton was swarmed by two Big Green players, he kicked the ball out to freshman Andre Logan. Also well covered, Logan's 10-foot jumper caromed off the back of the rim, into the waiting hands of Dartmouth's Vedad Osmanovic (Banja Luka, Bosnia).
When the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard, a jubilant scrum of Dartmouth players celebrated on the Leede hardwood. Osmanovic danced on one of the press tables, flinging the game ball high into the stands - into the waiting hands of his uncle. As the Big Green worked its way to the locker room, trustee Peter Fahey dashed onto the court to offer his congratulations to coach Dave Faucher.
Poised to make some history the following night (Dartmouth has swept Penn-Princeton at home only three times since 1958-59), the Big Green raced out to a 32-27 halftime lead against the Quakers. Mark Kissling (Okemos, Mich.) buried a 3-pointer to make it 37-31 with 18:39 to go, forcing Penn to call a timeout.
The Quakers answered with a 18-4 run as Dartmouth had good chances, but couldn't buy a bucket for a stretch of 4:39. The game went to Penn, 75-62.
"I was pleased with our approach the second night against a big and athletic Penn team," said Faucher. "We did almost everything we had to do - we got out of the blocks quickly, we played outstanding defense and were taking control of the game. That cold spell was disastrous and forced us to play catch-up.
"The Princeton victory was more than a game, it was an experience," he added. "It's a win that these players will always remember because it was so hard-fought."
Said Faucher, "The effort the entire weekend was extraordinary."
Against the Tigers, Osmanovic had 16 points, while McGinnis contributed 15, along with eight rebounds. He is on pace to become only the third Dartmouth player and 10th in Ivy League history to surpass 1,000 rebounds, needing just 27 in the final six games.
Osmanovic had a career-high 20 points in the Penn game, matching Buth's 20. Junior guard Flinder Boyd (Los Angeles, Calif.) dished off 13 assists in the two games and scored a combined 16 points.
As for the final three weeks of the season, Faucher said, "We'll treat it just as though we are playing for a championship. It's important that we appreciate the ability we have to play the game and to represent Dartmouth College. Because we're playing for all the right reasons, maybe we'll enjoy it a little bit more." (Kathy Slattery)