The Crimson (7-8, 0-1 Ivy) played much better than in its previous game, an 81-48 stinker at UC Irvine, but could not make as many plays down the stretch as its rival and Ivy League travel partner from up north.
“It was an extra-round fight,” Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. “I think both teams were punch-drunk at the end. Dartmouth made use of great opportunities and was very effective down the stretch.”
The Big Green (6-7, 1-0 Ivy) shot 6-of-7 from the floor in overtime, compared to just 3-of-9 for the Crimson. Dartmouth also shot 56.7 percent from the floor in the second half as it erased a 35-23 Harvard lead at halftime.
Big Green senior guard Leon Pattman put the home team up for good in overtime, hitting a three-pointer in front of Crimson captain Jim Goffredo to give his team a 71-68 lead with 2:56 remaining. Pattman was the game’s high scorer with 27 points, 22 after halftime.
After sophomore guard Drew Housman hit a jumper with 1:55 left to cut it down to a one-point game, Harvard looked like it would get the ball back with a chance to regain the lead when the shot clock ran down on Dartmouth’s end of the floor. But the ball found sophomore forward Alex Barnett on the left baseline, who nailed a jumper as the clock expired for two of his 19 points, making it 73-70 Big Green with 1:19 left.
Dartmouth then pulled away, as it turned missed shots on the Crimson’s next two possessions into fastbreak layups by Pattman and sophomore forward Dan Biber.
Harvard was led on offense throughout the game by senior center Brian Cusworth, who tied a career-high with 25 points, many of which came from the free throw line, where he was 15-of-19. He grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and blocked four shots.
Cusworth also had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but his well-guarded, fallaway jumper from just inside the arc at the top of the key bounced off the back rim as the buzzer sounded.
The big man’s success did not rub off on the starting backcourt of Housman and Goffredo. Housman was Harvard’s second-leading scorer with 14 points, but made only 3-of-15 field goal attempts and missed all three of his three-pointers, including two in overtime.
After scoring a career-high 33 points and making 8-of-10 three-pointers against Dartmouth in last year’s season opener, a 78-65 Crimson win in Cambridge, Goffredo scored only nine points on 4-of-13 shooting, and made just 1-of-6 three-point attempts.
“We did not want to be surprised by Goffredo like we were last year,” Barnett said. “He came out and killed us. We did not want to let him do that to us again.”
The Big Green blocked nine shots, five of them coming on shots by Goffredo.
“I thought Dartmouth did an excellent job identifying him, knowing where he was, and footprinting him nicely,” Sullivan said.
The captain’s one three-pointer did tie the game at 64-64 with 1:53 left in the second half. Those would be the last points scored in regulation.
Trailing from the start and by as many as 13 several times in the first half, the Big Green kept inching closer in the second. Finally, with 2:40 left, Pattman drove the lane and hit an off-balance reverse layup to give Dartmouth its first lead of the game at 62-61.
Besides its hot shooting, the Big Green’s comeback was helped by 11 second-half Harvard turnovers. The Crimson turned it over 23 times on the game, seven by Cusworth, and had just nine assists.
“Turnovers really hurt us,” Sullivan said. “Our turnovers were fairly much in check in the first half. Our turnovers in the second half really disjointed us. It led to conversion baskets and Dartmouth feeling good about themselves. The first half, they didn’t feel as good about themselves. The second half, they did because of easy baskets and conversions, and Pattman.”
Harvard has a chance to feel good about itself and enact revenge on the Big Green in its Ivy League home opener Friday night.
Dartmouth will come to Lavietes Pavilion for a 7 p.m. tip-off to complete the home-and-home series.
—Staff writer Ted Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.