PRINCETON, N.J.--The number '9' means a lot of things to a lot of people.
For example, cats have nine lives, and Tigers, apparently, must too.
But Dartmouth men's basketball Coach Paul Cormier probably never thought that one of his high-scoring teams would score only nine points in one half. However, Princeton jumped out to a 28-9 halftime lead en route to a 66-28 rout of the Big Green Saturday night in front of 4281 spectators here at Jadwin Gym.
"We knew we were basically embarrassed and the only thing we could do is take the next 20 minutes as a new game," said Cormier, who had never witnessed such a drought in his six years at the helm of the Dartmouth program.
But much of the Tigers' dominance has to be credited to the absence of Dartmouth's two leading scorers who account for nearly 30 points per game. Point guard James Blackwell is out for the season with a tear of the left medial collateral ligament and center Walter Palmer is missing with spasms caused by a stress fracture in December.
"It takes away some of the elation of a victory like this knowing that they're missing their two leading scorers," Carril said.
Princeton's win left it in sole possession of first place in the Ivy League with a 6-2 record, one game ahead of Brown, Harvard and Yale. The Tigers host Brown and Yale next weekend.
The Big Green (9-10 overall, 4-4 Ivy) scored only two points--a Rob Summers top-of-the key jumper--in the last 11 minutes of the first half as the Tigers (15-5) broke open a 10-7 game with a 22-2 run extending into the first two minutes of the second half.
The Tigers' three-point shooting prowess keyed the run, with Sean Jackson and Captain Matt Lapin each hitting a pair during the run. In the first half, Princeton was 7-for-8 from beyond the three-point arc and only 1-for-8 inside the arc. Jackson led all scorers with 12 points on 4-for-5 three-point shooting.
"They hit their first six or seven shots, and if they do that, no one's going to beat them," Cormier said. "Right now, I'm devastated that the Dartmouth program is that far behind Princeton after I've been here six years."
Dartmouth never managed to get its offense in sync, having to fight against light full-court pressure with-out its starting point guard.
"We used to punish pressure," Cormier said. "We used to use it as an offensive weapon. Now, we say, 'Phew' when we get it over and once we get it over, then we had to contend with the best half-court defense in the league."
THE NOTEBOOK:Princeton sophomore forward Matt Eastwick, who suffered a concussion against Harvard Friday, is out of the infirmary and may try to practice today, Carril said.
Tigers, 66-28 at Princeton, N.J. Dartmouth 9-19--28 Princeton 28-38--66
DARTMOUTH (28): Brendan O'Sullivan 4-6 1-1 9; John Conley 1-6 0-0 2; Michael Lombard 1-5 0-2 2; Rob Summers 1-2 0-0 2; John Mackay 0-4 0-0 0; Bill Taylor 0-4 0-0 0; Gary Campbell 0-0 0-0 0; Jason Rosenberg 1-2 0-0 3; Alex Gayer 3-5 4-6 10; Steve Trundle 0-0 0-0 0; Matt Brzica 0-1 0-0 0; John Wilkins 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals: 11-36 5-9 28
PRINCETON (66): Matt Henshon 2-5 0-0 5; Matt Lapin 3-7 0-0 9; Kit Mueller 3-5 3-3 9; Sean Jackson 4-6 0-0 12; George Leftwich 0-1 1-2 1; Jerry Doyle 2-3 5-5 9; Troy Hottenstein 2-4 1-1 5; Kelly McDowell 1-2 2-2 4; Marvin Williams 1-3 2-4 4; Chris Marquardt 0-2 0-0 0; Jimmy Lane 1-2 0-0 3; Chris Pavlic 1-1 0-0 2; Michael Silas 1-2 1-2 3.
Totals: 21-43 15-19 66
Three-pointers: Rosenberg; Jackson 4, Lapin 3, Henshon, Lane. Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: Dartmouth 21 (O'Sullivan 5); Princeton 26 (Lapin 5). Assists: Dartmouth 4 (Campbell 2), Princeton 14 (Mueller 3). Steals: Dartmouth 1 (Rosenberg); Princeton 10 (Leftwich 3). Blocks: Dartmouth 0; Princeton 1 (Hottenstein). Total Fouls: Dartmouth 17; Princeton 11.