Sophomore Christian Webster made 12-of-15 free throws and finished with a game-high 29 points (Mitchell Layton).
MACON, Ga. – For the second time in three games, a Harvard men's basketball player established a new career-high in points, as Christian Webster scored 29 points to propel the Crimson to a 75-69 victory at Mercer Saturday afternoon. Before a sold out University Center, Webster was 12-of-15 from the line and made four three-pointers, giving him the most points for a Harvard player since Jeremy Lin '10 scored 30 at Connecticut last year.
Brandyn Curry added 13 points, as he made three shots from beyond the arc, and Laurent Rivard contributed 12 points for Harvard, which improves to 2-1 on the season. Webster, Curry and Oliver McNally all grabbed six rebounds, and McNally made five steals. Jeff Smith (20 points), Brandon Moore (14 points) and Brian Mills (12 points) led the way for Mercer, which falls to 1-2.
Following a four-point burst by Webster to start the game to open a 4-2 lead for the Crimson, Mercer followed with a 6-0 run to go up, 8-4. Webster hit a three-pointer to help Harvard regain the lead, 11-8, with 15:04 to go in the first half. The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes, but made jump shots by Curry and Andrew Van Nest, kept Harvard ahead, 17-14 midway through the opening period.
With time winding down on the shot clock, Curry drilled a three pointer from the right side to give Harvard a six-point edge, 23-17, with 7:23 on the clock. Harvard owned the offensive glass in the latter stages of the first half, as the Crimson grabbed six boards on the offensive side of the ball. Following a missed three-pointer by Rivard, Webster grabbed the rebound and kicked out a pass to Rivard, who nailed the second attempt.
Webster hit another three in the final minute to conclude the first half with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting, as Harvard headed to the locker room up, 37-27.
Turnovers plagued the Crimson early on in the second, as Mercer opened with a 15-2 run to grab a 42-39 lead with 15 minutes to go. Keith Wright converted a conventional three-point play with 14:38 on the clock, putting Harvard back on top, 44-42. The Crimson then settled down, as Rivard buried a trey from the right on the next Harvard possession, putting his team up by five. Another three by Rivard gave Harvard an eight-point advantage, 53-45, with 11:45 remaining.
Harvard shot the ball well down the stretch and a three by Van Nest with 6:31 to go made it a 10-point game in favor of the Crimson, 62-52. With four minutes on the clock, Webster nailed two more from the charity stripe to give him 29 for the game. With 2:58 left, Rivard put the game out of reach, as he made another three, putting Harvard back up 10, 68-58.
The Crimson hit 10 three-pointers for the game and shot 22-of-46 from the field. For the third straight game, Harvard outrebounded its opponent, grabbing 30 rebounds, while Mercer had 26.
Harvard, which now has won all four of its meetings with Mercer, visits Bryant Wednesday, Nov. 23 in a non-conference contest slated to begin at 4 p.m.