Harvard Runs Past Rice Owls, 85-64; Off To Best Start In 25 Years

Keith Wright had 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting and three of Harvard's 10 blocked shots Wednesday night against Rice (Kevin Burns) 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Harvard used impressive ball movement Wednesday night as the Crimson ran past the visiting Rice University Owls, 85-64, at Lavietes Pavilion.

Harvard improves to 6-1 on the season to mark its best start in 25 years since going 8-0 at the outset of the 1984-85 campaign. Rice dips to 4-3 with its second straight loss.

Rice started the game with seven early turnovers but recovered with strong inside play as the Owls scored 12 early points in the paint. Harvard's depth at the frontcourt position soon took hold however in a game that turned into a dunkfest for the home-standing Crimson.

Tommy Amaker's Crimson shot 52 percent in the first half en route to a 40-26 halftime lead. Things only improved for the Crimson in the second half as the team connected on 15-of-20 from the floor for a 75 percent mark. All told, Harvard blistered the nets to the tune of 61 percent compared to a 39 percent mark for the Owls (21-for-54).

Ten different players logged double digit minutes for Harvard with nobody playing more than 28 minutes (Oliver McNally). Keith Wright led all players with 18 points (8-10 FG) and three blocks in 19 minutes. Jeremy Lin added 14 points (5-10 FG) and game-highs of eight rebounds and four steals while also dishing out four assists in 25 minutes. McNally had seven assists to go with 14 points and Christian Webster also had double figures with 10 points (3-6 FG).

The team dished out 22 assists on 31 baskets and was also an effective 19-of-22 from the free throw line. Harvard, which leads the Ivy League in blocked shots, turned back 10 Rice shots in the game.

Harvard's starting five of Wright, Lin, McNally, Webster and Doug Miller combined to shoot 21-for-34 from the floor (62 percent).

Harvard has won its last three home games by an average of 21.5 points.

NOTES: Harvard's 8-0 start in 1984-85 included two victories over D. II programs and one victory over a D. III program. The best other start came in 1957-58 when the team started 8-1 with five wins against lower division opponents.