Second-half bursts lift Dartmouth past UAA

64-52: UAA "made way too many mistakes" in loss to Dartmouth.

Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 25, 2011 

It wasn't a fun game to watch, and it wasn't a fun game to be a Seawolf.

In a contest that was played under the rim and without any rhythm, Dartmouth College put together two second-half runs that broke open a close game and carried it to a 64-52 Great Alaska Shootout victory over a lackluster UAA men's basketball team Friday afternoon at Sullivan Arena.

The loss sends the Seawolves (0-2) into today's seventh-place game against UC Irvine at noon. At stake for the Seawolves: a chance to avoid becoming the seventh host team in 34 years to leave the Shootout without a victory -- and a chance to rebound from an ugly loss.

UAA shot poorly (19 of 58 for 32.8 percent), was outrebounded badly (40-23) and committed fouls both early and often (24 total, with leader Taylor Rohde getting two early and logging only 25 minutes before fouling out late in the game).

"It's pretty simple," coach Rusty Osborne said. "We did not perform up to our capabilities. We were pretty poor mentally right from the offset.

"We made way too many mistakes. That being said, we've got another one tomorrow and if we have the character I think we do, we will bounce back."

That's almost a guarantee. It's hard to imagine this UAA team, which entered the tournament ranked 17th among NCAA Division II teams for good reason, playing any worse.

The Seawolves' most obvious transgression was their ice-cold shooting touch. Lonnie Ridgeway and Kyle Fossman, two guys who know who to knock down shots, were a combined 4 for 22. Fossman missed all six attempts from 3-point range, where the Seawolves were 5 of 24 -- a stat that could have been much worse without Phillip Hearn's pair of treys in the last two-plus minutes, when the gap was too big for the shots to make a difference.

Dartmouth (2-3) did what it needed to do to win -- dominate the boards, get Rohde in early foul trouble, survive 22 turnovers and make plays when UAA got close in the second half.

The Big Green's big rebounding effort made a big difference, but not many of their 40 boards were of the crash-the-glass variety, and neither team played the kind of high-flying, fast-break basketball capable of waking up the afternoon crowd of about 1,000.

"This was a contest that probably wasn't the prettiest to watch," Dartmouth coach Paul Cormier said.

"We're not a team that plays with great fluidity. I'm known as a coach that can turn a game into an ugly game very well. They're a halfcourt team so you have to be ready defensively to stop them, so it's not going to be an up-and-down game."

And yet it was a basket in transition that punctuated the first of Dartmouth's big runs in the second half and left UAA staring at a 38-30 deficit after the game had been tied 29-29.

Fueled by UAA's three turnovers, five fouls and three errant 3-pointers whose long rebounds went Dartmouth's way, the Big Green scored six straight points in a 9-1 run that ended with David Rufful's deep 3-pointer that followed a UAA turnover.

"They hit a 3 in transition and now it's a whole different basketball game," Osborne said.

The Seawolves recovered to get back within 41-35 on a turnaround jumper by Rohde (9 points on 4 of 8 shooting) and a pretty jumper in the lane by Fossman (6 points, 3 assists), but Dartmouth's Gabas Maldunas leaned in for basket to make it 43-35 with eight minutes left, the start of an 11-0 run that included four free throws and another 3-pointer by Rufful (19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists). With 4:26 to go, Dartmouth led by 17, 52-35.

The rest of the game dragged on. The only bright spots for the fans in that span were Ridgeway's rim-rattling dunk with 50 seconds left and the play of Hearn, which was a bright spot for the Seawolves too. Hearn, a senior forward who has earned a spot in the starting lineup, scored eight of his 10 points, took a hard charge and played with intensity in the final 2:23.

"Tonight we didn't play as hard as we could," said Hearn, a West High graduate. "We weren't there mentally today. We need to be there tomorrow and come focused and with intensity."

Reach Beth Bragg at bbragg@adn,com or 257-4335.

DARTMOUTH (64) -- Rufful 6-11 4-6 19; Brooks 5-11 3-5 13; Trotter 3-6 4-6 12; Maldunas 3-6 1-2 7; LaBove 2-4 2-3 6; Griffin 1-4 2-2 4; Golden 1-5 0-2 3; McKearney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-47 16-26 64.

UAA (52) -- Thompson 4-8 0-0 11; Hearn 3-8 2-2 10; Rohde 4-8 1-3 9; White 2-5 3-4 7; Fossman 2-10 2-2 6; Ridgeway 2-12 1-2 5; Demissie 1-4 0-0 2; Jackson 1-1 0-0 2; Gibcus 0-1 0-0 0; Weitzel 0-0 0-0 0; Blossom 0-0 0-0 0; Lauwers 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-58 9-13 52.

Dartmouth 25 39 -- 64

UAA 25 27 -- 52

3-point goals -- Dartmouth 6-16 (Rufful 3-4; Trotter 2-4; Golden 1-4; Griffin 0-3; Maldunas 0-1), UAA 5-24 (Thompson 3-5; Hearn 2-6; White 0-2; Fossman 0-6; Ridgeway 0-1; Demissie 0-3; Lauwers 0-1). Total fouls -- Dartmouth 20, UAA 24. Fouled out -- Ridgeway, Rohde. Rebounds -- Dartmouth 40 (Brooks 10), UAA 23 (Ridgeway 4; Rohde 4). Assists -- Dartmouth 13 (Trotter 4), UAA 13 (White 5). Turnovers -- Dartmouth 22 (Brooks 5), UAA 12 (Rohde 4). Blocked shots -- Dartmouth 3 (Maldunas 2), UAA 5 (5 with 1). Steals -- Dartmouth 6 (Maldunas 2, Golden 2), UAA 4 (4 with 1). Officials -- Hernandez, McClellan, Leitch.

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