George Washington has added a shooter for the 2015-16 season, as Dartmouth transfer Alex Mitola has committed to the program, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.
Mitola averaged double-figures all three years he played for the Big Green, posting 12.4 points while shooting 36.6 percent from three as a junior. He’s a small guard — listed at a generous 5-foot-11 — but, according to one Ivy League coach, “he is fast and shoots the ball lights out.”
He’ll be eligible immediately at GW.
Mitola will be a good fit for GW in that sense, as the Colonials really struggled shooting the ball from the perimeter last season. They missed the presence of Maurice Creek, who graduated in 2014, and while Mitola doesn’t have the same size or ability as Creek, he should be able to help stretch the floor.
Mike Lonergan will have some talent up front in 2015-16. Not only will Kevin Larsen and Patricio Garino be back for their senior seasons, but Yuta Watanabe is in line for an excellent sophomore year and Wake Forest transfer Tyler Cavanaugh will be eligible this season. but with Kethan Savage and Nick Griffin transferring, GW needed some back court depth.
How Harvard spent 62 minutes waiting on its NCAA Tournament fate
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – An hour before tipoff, there was no power inside Lavietes Pavilion.
That appeared to be an ominous sign for Harvard, which needed a win over Brown and a Yale loss to Dartmouth, on the final day of the regular season, in order to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
By 9:02 p.m., in a state of bliss, Harvard senior forward Jonah Travis laid motionless on the court staring directly up at the Lavietes’ lights.
After an agonizing 62 minutes of sitting and waiting, an improbable sequence of events resulted in Harvard and Yale sharing the Ivy League title (the fifth straight for the Crimson), meaning the two teams will square off next Saturday at The Palestra in Philadelphia for a trip to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
“Live to fight another day!” Travis told NBCSports.com.
“What’s the score?” Harvard’s Tommy Amaker asked reporters after the game, a rare instance in which a coach asks the first question during a press conference.
Two computers were streaming the game with the Bulldogs leading the Big Green 39-35 with 15:30 left in regulation. Amaker answered questions for 15 minutes before he exited the lounge that hangs above the far baseline of the arena.
Of course, not before he could get another update as he exited through the door.
“What do we got? What’s the score?” Amaker asked.
“49-46, Yale. 8:39 left,” he was told.
“Here we go,” Amaker said.
With less than 30 seconds in the game, Harvard was up 69-60 when reserve forward Evan Cummins was fouled after corralling a miss from Brown’s Tavon Blackmon. Cummins made his way to the line as the Harvard student section began chanting, “Let’s go Dartmouth!” At that point, it was halftime in Hanover with Yale leading 30-29.
“We were talking a little bit about [the Yale-Dartmouth game] on the bench,” Harvard senior forward Wesley Saunders said.
“Somebody heard the score. I guess someone in the crowd was keeping up with the game. It was like [the game] Telephone … passing the score along.”
Once in the locker room, players were quick to confirm the scores they had heard while on the bench, tracking the Yale-Dartmouth game on their phones. With a senior night reception scheduled at the nearby Murr Center Lounge, many of the players filed out of the gym with their eyes glued to their screens.
Several players chose to stay, watching the online stream along with two-dozen spectators, a far cry from the 2,195 fans that had packed the arena half an hour earlier.
By now, it’s 8:52 p.m. Yale has extended its lead to 57-52 with 35.2 left in regulation. Dartmouth freshman guard Miles Wright was fouled on the ensuing possession and went to the line shooting two.
“I can’t watch this,” shouts freshman guard Andre Chatfield, who left his spot at the scorer’s table and headed for the locker room.
Wright made both free throws, which cut the Yale lead to 57-54.
Chatfield came back to center court to hear that Dartmouth had forced a jump ball and re-gained possession. The 6-foot-4 freshman wanted to see what’s going on, but superstitious fans prohibited him from watching. Things have turned around since he walked away.
Chatfield and sophomore guard Matt Fraschilla stood together at midcourt, as Dartmouth took a 30-second timeout.
“Where’s my man, [Alex] Mitola?” asks Fraschilla.
“Is that your boy now?” a fan asks Fraschilla.
“I need him to be,” Fraschilla answers.
“Hey, if he can do it to us, why can’t he do it to them?” another fan says.
Mitola, Dartmouth’s leading scorer, went a perfect 10-for-10 from the line in the final two minutes to give the Big Green a 70-61 win over Harvard on Jan. 24. Everyone, in both gyms, knew he’d be the first option for Dartmouth.
Mitola wasn’t open on the flare screen, but Wright was coming off a pindown and tied the game with a 3-pointer.
With only two seconds remaining, Yale’s Javier Duren was fouled. At this point, Travis, one of two Harvard seniors still in the building, went and sat on the opposing team’s bench, by himself, hunched over, eyes glued to the gamecast app on his phone.
Duren split the pair. Yale is up 58-57.
On the ensuing inbound play, Wright, a former Division I quarterback prospect, heaved a two-handed pass, which is knocked out of bounds by Yale’s Justin Sears. The deflection by Sears puts Dartmouth in an ideal spot, under the Yale hoop with 1.9 seconds left.
Travis heard this, but refused to leave his spot, alone, on the bench.
Gabas Maldunas gave Dartmouth a 59-58 lead with 0.5 seconds to go. Maldunas still had a free throw to shoot, but once Travis realized Dartmouth had taken the lead, he sprinted to half court and jumped into the arms of Chatfield. In that moment of euphoria was a freshman experiencing his first taste of madness with a senior whose hopes of wearing the slipper in March one more time remained alive.
Travis outweighs Chatfield by 40 pounds, so that moment lasted briefly before they both went crashing to the ground. Literally floored by what had just transpired, Travis stared up at the ceiling. Senior forward Charlie Anastasi dove right next to him. Fraschilla jumped on top of him to give him a hug, but Travis’ eyes were still locked on the lights.
“You can only dream about a moment like this coming true,” Travis told NBCSports.com. “If he (Maldunas) wants to come down to Harvard we’ll make sure to throw a big party for him.”
It had been 62 minutes from the time Harvard had won its game until Dartmouth had completed the comeback against Yale. The coaching staff was out of sight shortly after Amaker’s press conference, and many of the players have been out of the arena for more than 30 minutes.
“Let’s go be with everyone,” said Anastasi, referring the senior night reception.
For the remaining members of the Harvard basketball team inside Lavietes Pavilion, it was officially time to party.
But next Saturday, at The Palestra in Philadelphia, the Crimson will find out if it’s time to dance.
Dartmouth and Northern Illinois went to overtime on Friday night in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Alex Mitola, the 5-foot-11 junior guard, accounted for all of Dartmouth’s points in overtime, hitting four 3-pointers, including the game-winner. Mitola was 4-of-5 from the field in overtime. He had been 2-of-10 entering the extra frame. Mitola ended with a game-high 18 points.
Dartmouth needed an offensive spark. After leading by 14 at halftime, the Big Green scored only 13 points in the second half with only one field goal in the final seven minutes of regulation.
Both teams moved to .500 with the Big Green improving to 5-5 and the Huskies dropping to 4-4.
Dartmouth earned its first win of the season on Friday night as junior forward Connor Boehm’s three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Big Green a 68-67 home win over IPFW.
IPFW’s Joe Reed had a chance to give the Mastodons a three-point lead at the free-throw line with nine seconds left, but split the pair to only make it a two-point game as Dartmouth rebounded his missed free throw, went the length of the floor and found Boehm for the clutch shot.
Boehm finished with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds for the contest and the stakes are always raised on a shot like this when your team is down two and you go for the win instead of the tie.
Dartmouth’s Gabas Maldunas will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL to his right knee suffered in practice, the school announced this past Wednesday.
Maldunas, who is the Big Green’s leading scorer and rebounder, was having a standout season and a big reason for Dartmouth’s improved play from last year.
The Big Green haven’t won more than ten games since the 2007-08 season, but are well on their way to a double-digit win campaign this year. They currently stand at 7-8 and, while their wins haven’t come against the stiffest of competition, their ranking of 220 by Pomeroy — compared to last season’s 275 — is reflective of the improvement.
The 6-foot-9 forward from Lithuania was averaging 11.2 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Because the injury was suffered at this stage of the season, Maldunas will be ineligible to receive a medical redshirt.
All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.
To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of the Conference Previews we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.
Expectations have never been higher for an Ivy League team heading into a season. On the heels of upsetting New Mexico in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, having Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry rejoin the program, and welcoming the highly-touted recruit Zena Edosomwan to the team, Harvard is the clear-cut favorite to win the Ivy League. Not to mention, the Crimson also return first team all-Ivy players Wesley Saunders and Siyani Chambers, and sharpshooter Laurent Rivard. It is a supremely talented roster that Tommy Amaker, now in his seventh year, has constructed.
It’s hard to see another team seriously challenging the Crimson, but if there is a challenge it will come in the form of the southernmost school in the league, Pennsylvania. After experiencing a great deal of success in 2011-12, registering 20 wins and an 11-3 league record, the Quakers regressed last year, going just 9-22. Miles Jackson-Cartwright and Tony Hicks make for a dynamite backcourt, along with freshman guard Matt Howard – who received offers from BCS schools – who will provide meaningful minutes, as well.
Harvard’s biggest rival, Yale, also figures to be a factor. James Jones, the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League, had the Bulldogs playing their best basketball of the year in the final ten games going 7-3 down the stretch. Plus, they return many of their primary pieces save for guard Austin Morgan.
One of the more intriguing teams in the league who appear to be on the upswing with Mike Martin now at the helm is Brown. Last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, Cedric Kuakumensah, is back for his sophomore season, but losing Tucker Halpern is a big blow for the Bears.
Of course, it would be foolish to think Princeton won’t be in the mix. Despite losing last year’s Player of the Year Ian Hummer, Denton Koon and T.J. Bray return for Mitch Henderson.
PRESEASON IVY LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Wesley Saunders, Harvard
Saunders (16.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 spg) made a tremendous jump from his freshman to sophomore season – he had to with Casey and Curry’s absence – and will continue to be a focal point on offense for the Crimson.
FOUR MORE NAMES TO KNOW
G Siyani Chambers, Harvard: The best point guard in the league on the best team in the league.
G Tony Hicks, Pennsylvania: May lead the league in scoring as a sophomore after averaging 15.3 ppg in league games last season.
F Shonn Miller, Cornell: Nobody fills up a box score quite like Miller who averaged nearly two steals and blocks last year.
F Cedric Kuakumensah, Brown: A menace on the defensive end who will only improve offensively.