CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Six Harvard men's basketball players reached double digits in points, as the Crimson topped local rival Boston University, 87-71, before 1,487 fans Saturday afternoon at Lavietes Pavilion. Christian Webster (18 points) led the way in scoring for Harvard, which has won 13 straight non-conference games at Lavietes Pavilion, and improves to 5-0 at home and 7-2 overall. Keith Wright (17), Laurent Rivard (15), Andrew Van Nest (13), Oliver McNally (11) and Brandyn Curry (10) also reached double figures against the Terriers.
Keith Wright earned his fourth double-double of the year, adding 10 rebounds to his 17 points. BU, which falls to 4-7 overall, was led offensively by John Holland who netted 21points.
The Crimson came out firing against the Terriers as a three-pointer from the left corner by Oliver McNally gave Harvard an eight-point advantage at the 16:43 mark of the first half. Andrew Van Nest followed with his second trey on the next Crimson possession, as the team made four shots from beyond the mark in the opening minutes to open up a 16-8 lead by the first media timeout. The Terriers battled back, as John Holland hit consecutive threes, to pull BU within four, 18-14, at 12:32. BU continued to connect from long distance, as another trey by Holland made it a one-point game, 18-17.
Down the stretch in the opening stanza, the Terriers kept the pressure on the Crimson, forcing a tie, 21,-21, with 7:56 remaining. BU eventually took a one-point advantage, but Wright drained two free throws to put Harvard back on top, 27-26, with 3:55 to go. Rivard drained two jumpers from the top of the key and hit two from the charity stripe in the final minutes of the half, as Harvard took a 35-33 lead into the locker room.
Rivard scored 10 of his points in the opening half, as Harvard headed into the break with an advantage in rebounds, 21-15, and blocks, 5-2. Both teams shot 12-of-29 (.414) in the first opening stanza, while the Crimson was 7-of-9 from the line.
In the second, Harvard was aggressive in going to the hoop to open a five point lead, 41-36, but the Terriers continued to connect from long distance to stay in the game. After a trey by Webster and a tip-in off a rebound by Wright, Rivard went to the line and hit both, giving the Crimson a seven-point lead, 50-43. A three-pointer by Webster created a 12-point edge for Harvard, 55-43, its largest lead of the game, with 13:20 remaining.
Harvard utilized long-distance shooting and the charity stripe to pull ahead by 20 points, 70-50, with just over nine minutes remaining, as the team enjoyed a 27-7 run. The Crimson kept the pressure on the Terriers, going up by as much as 22 after a converted layup by Wright at the 8:20 mark.
The Crimson outscored the Terriers, 52-38, in the second half on 15-of-21 shooting from the field and six three-pointers.
Harvard will have 11 days off before visiting No. 6 Connecticut in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m.