March 8, 2008
Hanover, New Hampshire - Brown entered its final regular season Ivy League game against Dartmouth with a business-like approach. After establishing a new school record for wins the night before against Harvard, coach Craig Robinson's team was looking to extend its winning record and improve its RPI rating in hopes of securing a post-season invitation after finishing second in the Ivy League standings.
Senior Damon Huffman (18 points), freshman Peter Sullivan (15 points) and senior Mark McAndrew (14 points) answered the call to lead Brown (19-9, 11-3 Ivy) to a hard-fought 75-71 Ivy League victory over Dartmouth (10-18, 3-11 Ivy) and its school record 19th victory of the season.
"There were a lot of tears in the locker room after the game," said Robinson. "It really hit our three seniors hard that this was their last Ivy game. They put so much into the game to come back and win. It was like a fairytale ending."
Not only did the Bears finish with the most wins (19) ever, but coach Craig Robinson's team finished with the fewest losses (9) at Brown in 34 years. Brown's 11 Ivy League wins (11-3) are second only to the 2003 Bears who posted a 12-2 Ivy mark.
Huffman was the difference in the game, shooting 7 of 10 from the field, including a sizzling 4 of 5 from behind the three-point arc. Sullivan was equally as impressive from the field, knocking-down 6 of 8 field goals in scoring his 15 points. McAndrew connected on 4 of 8 field goals and 6 of 6 free throws, including 4 of 4 free throws in the game's final 35 seconds.
Brown fans hopefully haven't seen the last of this gritty team, who have won 10 of their last 11 games to finish the regular season, or its two 1,000- point scorers, Huffman and McAndrew.
Brown will await word on Sunday, March 16, from either the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) or the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) in hopes of gaining a bid to one of the two post-season tournaments.
"We have to wait patiently until the conference tournaments are completed and see what the various committees think about our team," said Robinson. "We won 10 of our last 11 games, including our last two games on the road, and showed that we deserve to keep playing."
Huffman finished the regular season with 1,267 career points, 10th all-time at Brown. He is Brown's all-time leader with 223 career treys, 10th best in Ivy League basketball history. Huffman's 73 treys this season rank second in Brown's record book for a single season.
Not to be outdone, McAndrew, who honed his skills at nearby Barrington High School, has scored 1,085 career points at Brown, 17th best all-time. McAndrew, the Ivy League's top scorer, has connected on 61 treys this year, seventh best in Brown's record book, while his 160 career treys are fourth all-time at Brown.
Coach Robinson also earned some kudos. His 30 wins in his first two seasons are the most ever at Brown, eclipsing the mark of 29 wins by former Bears' mentor George E. Allen from 1939-1940. Brown's 1939 team appeared in the first ever NCAA Tournament.
Brown got off to a sluggish start, while the Big Green had control of most of the first half, leading by as many as eight points, 31-23, with 3:25 remaining in the half. Brown rallied to outscore the Big Green 13-2 to grab a 36-33 lead on a three-point basket by Huffman with 27 seconds left in the half. Clive Weeden's lay-up at the buzzer for the Big Green cut the Bears halftime lead to 36-35.
Brown opened the second half with a vengeance, building a 49-40 lead on a three-point field goal by freshman Peter Sullivan with 12:12 left in the game. Dartmouth clawed back to pull to within two points, 52-50, following a three-point basket by Robby Pride with 10:45 left to play.
The Bears seemingly broke the game open with a 14-4 spurt and built 66-54 on a Huffman lay-up with 4:06 remaining. But Dartmouth rallied to pull to within three points, 72-69, on two free throws by Jon Ball with 21 seconds left in the game.
The Big Green were led by junior Alex Barnett with 18 points, and senior Jon Ball, who added 16 points and eight rebounds.