Men's Hoops Looks to Next Year with Core Group of Players

If there is a defining moment in the 2000-2001 men's basketball season, it is the December 16 game at Harvard.

In the final 29 seconds, a four-point Dartmouth lead reversed into a 79-78 Crimson victory, cutting the spirit and soul out of the Big Green hearts.

Dartmouth kept trying to regroup for the next three months, and actually did so with a 57-56 victory over Ivy champion Princeton and a pair of come-from-behind wins over Cornell. At the Palestra, the Big Green battled Penn in a 54-46 loss that was much, much closer than the final score.

In the game of "shoulda-coulda-woulda," had Dartmouth taken victories - instead of aggravating losses - to New Hampshire, Harvard (twice), Lehigh, Brown and Yale at home, as well as Vermont on the road, an 8-19 overall record might have been 15-12. The Ivy season - that started with that momentum-crushing loss at Harvard - could have easily been much better than 3-11.

"I think the one thing we learned this year is that it's a small step to a very special season," said coach Dave Faucher. "It's not a huge jump. How you do in close games really is the determining factor. Unfortunately, we didn't function well in the close games, and that's something we'll evaluate and try to improve upon for next year."

Faucher added, "The core group coming back is special in a lot of ways," referring to his junior class. "We'll start evaluating and planning for next year right away."

The Big Green did celebrate several outstanding individual performances at the annual team banquet on Sunday, March 4.

Seniors Greg Buth (Edina, Minn.) and Ian McGinnis (New York, N.Y.) shared the Dolly Stark Award as the most valuable players for 2000-2001.

Buth finished his collegiate career as Dartmouth's seventh all-time leading scorer with 1,437 points. On January 20, the co-captain broke his own Big Green record for 3-point baskets made in a game when he fired in nine against Albany.

McGinnis led the Ivy League in rebounding for four straight years. Also a co-captain, he pulled down 1,028 rebounds in his career, the third most at Dartmouth behind former Los Angeles Laker Rudy LaRusso '59 (1,239) and Jim Francis '57 (1,050). The Big Green's most prolific rebounder in 42 years, McGinnis finished ninth all-time in the Ivy League.

Sophomore forward Charles Harris (Memphis, Tenn.) was presented the John DiIorio '56 Award for hustle, drive and determination. After missing the 1999-2000 season, Harris came back this year to average 6.4 ppg as a starter and sixth man.

The Alvin F. "Doggie" Julian Award for spirit and enthusiasm went to junior point guard Flinder Boyd (Los Angeles, Calif.). Boyd averaged 5.2 assists per game and led the Big Green in minutes played at 36.4 per contest. In the January 20 game against Albany, he broke his own school record for assists with 16.

Currently second in all-time assists at Dartmouth with 473, Boyd needs only 16 to take over first place from Bryan Randall (1984-88) with 488.

Also returning as part of the core group is Vedad Osmanovic (Banja Luka, Bosnia). The junior scored a career-high 23 points in the March 3 loss to Columbia after pouring in 19 the previous night in a come-from-behind victory over Cornell, 60-57.

Mark Kissling (Okemos, Mich.), another member of the Class of 2002, is a rangy 6-9 forward who averaged 5.3 rebounds per game. His career high of 24 points came in a mid-January game against Yale. (Kathy Slattery)