Men's Basketball Uses Second-Half Run to Top Monmouth, 74-69

Laurent Rivard made 5-of-7 shots from the floor and was 6-of-6 from the line for 18 points (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Laurent Rivard led the Crimson with 18 points and Oliver McNally added 14 points, including 12 in the second half, helping the Harvard men's basketball team to a 74-69 victory over Monmouth Wednesday evening at Lavietes Pavilion. Brandyn Curry added 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds, while Christian Webster and Kyle Casey each scored 11 points.

Harvard outscored Monmouth, 45-33 in the second half to improve to 8-3 on the season, while the Hawks fall to 4-9. The Crimson, which trailed 54-45 with 8:23 to play, came back with a 29-14 run to close the game. Harvard made 28-of-35 free throws and was 19-of-40 from the field overall for the game.

Making his first start of the season, Casey netted Harvard's first three buckets, all in the paint, as Harvard jumped out to a 6-0 lead just prior to the first media timeout. The Hawks fought back, going on a 9-0 run to go ahead, 11-10 midway through the first. Following a timeout on the floor, Webster buried a three to put the Crimson back on top, 13-11. Harvard utilized the foul line to move ahead, 22-19, with just over six minutes to play in the first, as McNally drained two from the charity stripe.

Down the stretch in the first half, Monmouth stepped up its play from long distance, making 7-of-8 treys in the stanza and pulling ahead, 30-25, with three minutes remaining. The Hawks also kept the Crimson's offense at bay with a strong zone defensive effort, forcing 11 Harvard turnovers in the first half, as Monmouth led, 36-29, at the midway point. Casey scored eight points in the first on 4-of-6 shooting, and Harvard drained all eight of its free-throw attempts, including four by Christian Webster.

Coming out of the locker room, the Crimson opened with an 8-0 run, capped by two free throws by Curry, as Harvard grabbed a 37-36 lead. A jumper by Casey with 12:15 to play opened up a three-point edge for Harvard, 45-42, but Monmouth stormed back, as the Hawks went on a 12-0 run to lead Harvard 54-45 with 8:20 remaining.

A three by McNally snapped Monmouth's run, and then an acrobatic layup by Laurent Rivard helped the Crimson move within four, 54-50, with 7:09 to play. Rivard hit a three on Harvard's next possession, making it a one-point game, 54-53. With 5:53 remaining, McNally put Harvard ahead, 55-54, as he drained two from the charity stripe, as the Crimson matched Monmouth's run with a 11-0 run of its own. McNally followed a three with two more free throws, giving Harvard a four-point cushion 65-61, with just over three minutes to go.

With just under a minute remaining, Casey found Rivard cutting through traffic and Rivard hit a layup, putting Harvard up four, 68-64. On the ensuing Monmouth possession, Rivard drew a charge on Phil Wait, giving the Crimson the ball back with 45 seconds left. Monmouth's Jordan Davis hit a three-pointer from the left corner, making it 70-67 in favor of the Crimson, but Rivard iced the game with two free throws.

Rivard finished 5-of-7 from the floor and, along with McNally, was 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.

The Crimson stays at home to host local rival MIT Friday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m.