Harvard Men’s Basketball Cruises Past MIT, 76-49, in Season Opener

Laurent Rivard tallied 16 points for the Crimson in the season opener (Kevin Burns).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Keith Wright netted 13 points and Oliver McNally scored 12 points and dished out five assists, as the co-captains led the Harvard men's basketball team to a 76-49 win over MIT in the season opener before a sold out crowd of 2,195 at Lavietes Pavilion Friday evening. Laurent Rivard paced the Crimson with 16 points and was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while Kyle Casey scored 11.  Will Tashman led MIT with 16 points.

With tonight's victory, Harvard (1-0) extends its winning streak at home to 18 games, which is tied for the 10th longest active streak in the country.

Christian Webster buried a trey from the right corner to give Harvard an early 9-4 lead, but the Engineers crawled back to tie it, 9-9, just past the 14-minute mark. With just under 10 to play in the opening half, Wesley Saunders hit a shot while being fouled to put Harvard up, 17-12. The Crimson followed with back-to-back baskets on breakaways to open up a 21-12 advantage.

With the Crimson up 23-14, Wright converted a conventional three-point play to give Harvard a 12-point edge with just over six minutes left in the first. The Crimson extended its lead to 15, 31-16, when McNally hit a reverse layup from under the hoop. Harvard made 16-of-33 shots on the first half (48 percent) to take a 37-22 lead into the break. McNally and Wright each had nine points for the Crimson.

In the second, Wright put Harvard up by 15, 43-28, when he made a layup after drawing contact. A 3-pointer by Webster with 16 minutes to go gave Harvard an 18-point edge, 46-28, as the Crimson started to pull away. Rivard buried another trey to up the Crimson's lead to 51-32 with just under 12 minutes remaining.

Kyle Casey began to make his presence known under the basket midway through the second half, burying a dunk and then hitting a tip-in two possessions later to make it 56-34 in favor of the Crimson. With six minutes to go, Saunders found Rivard for another try, as the Crimson led by its largest margin, 31, 69-38.

The Crimson will visit Holy Cross Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.