ACADEMIC INTEGRATION COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

IN DIVISION I ATHLETICS

 

Harvard Men's Basketball Heads to Columbia, Cornell Looking to Keep Pace in Ivy Title Hunt

Related URL : /sports/mbkb/2011-12/videos/20120302_columbia_highlights

Co-Captain Oliver McNally and the Crimson are searching for the program's second straight Ivy League title (Drew Hallowell).

The Particulars
Harvard (24-4, 10-2 Ivy) sits one-half game up in first place in the Ivy League and will visit Columbia (14-14, 3-9) Friday evening.

Penn sits in second place at 9-2 in the Ivy League, while Yale (9-3) and Princeton (7-4) are third and fourth, respectively. With two victories the final week of the regular season, Harvard would clinch at least a share of the program's second straight Ivy League title. If Harvard wins both games against Columbia and Cornell and Penn loses to Brown or Yale, Harvard would clinch the Ancient Eight outright and earn the conference's automatic berth this weekend.
 
Harvard's 24-4 overall start is the best start in program history and has set a new program mark for wins in a season (surpassing 23 in 2010-11). The Crimson is also off to a 10-2 Ivy League start for the second consecutive season.

Game Coverage
Live Video
will be available for a subscription at GoColumbiaLions.om. Guest TV/radio personality Guy Adami of CNBC's "Fast Money" will join WHRB's Charlie Hobbs and James Yoon for the audio call on WHRB-FM and GoCrimson.com (for free). Live statistics will also be available for the game at GoCrimson.com.

Saturday's game will be shown live on ESPN3.com. Charlie Hobbs and James Yoon will have the audio call on WHRB-FM and GoCrimson.com (for free)Live statistics will also be available for the game at GoCrimson.com.
 
Around the Ivy League
In other Ancient Eight contests this evening, Penn hosts Brown, Yale visits Princeton, and Dartmouth heads to  Ithaca, N.Y., to face Cornell.
 
Series History Against Columbia
Friday's game marks the 168th meeting between Harvard and Columbia, with the Lions owning a 93-74 advantage in the series that started back in 1900-01. The Crimson has taken six of the last seven games against the Lions, including a season sweep in each of the last two years.
 
Harvard's Last Time Out
Kyle Casey scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Wesley Saunders tallied 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting, but the Crimson fell at home to Penn, 55-54, Feb. 25. The loss snapped Harvard's 28-game home win streak, which spanned more than two years (Feb. 19, 2010-Feb. 25, 2012). The Crimson only shot 2-of-11 from beyond the arc (.182) and turned the ball over 20 times.
 
Columbia's Last Time Out
Columbia is coming off a 94-78 loss at Brown Feb. 25. Brian Barbour led the way with 18 points, followed by Mark Cisco (15), Alex Rosenberg (13) and Meiko Lyles (10). Barbour connected on 8-of-9 free throws and also dished out 10 assists to earn a double-double. Brown outrebounded the Lions, 34-25, and the Bears sank 57.7 percent of their shots (30-of-52).

Best Ivy Start
Harvard began conference play with a 7-0 start  for the first time in program history. The Crimson is 10-2 in the Ivy League for the second straight season.

RPI Watch
Harvard currently sits at No. 38 in the RPI, according to collegerpi.com. The Crimson earned the highest ranking in program history, No. 14, Dec. 2, 2011.
 
Harvard Against The Ivy League
Over the last two seasons, the Crimson boasts a 22-5 (.814) against Ivy League opponents. During that stretch, the Crimson is 9-3 (.750) against Ancient Eight opponents on the road and 13-1 at home (.929). This season, Harvard is 10-2 in conference games, having swept Dartmouth,  Brown and Yale, defeated Penn in a road contest and downed Cornell. Columbia and Princeton at home.
 
Back To 20
For the third straight year and the third time in program history, Harvard has won 20 games in a season, boasting a 24-4 overall mark this season. The Crimson went 21-8 in 2009-10 and posted a 23-7 overall mark last season. Harvard's 24 victories set a new program record.
 
Stepping Up On D
The Crimson is allowing only 54.0 points per game this season, good for third in the nation in scoring defense. Wisconsin paces the nation, surrendering only 51.7 points per contest, while Virginia sits second (52.2 points allowed per game)Harvard has only allowed 70 points twice and surrendered 50 or less points in 11 games and less than 40 points twice.
 
Free-Throw Defense
Entering the weekend, Harvard was 20th in the nation in free throw shooting defense, as opponents are only making 65.0 percent of attempts (266-of-409). Coppin State leads the nation (.619).
 
Rejection List
With 42 blocks this season, Keith Wright now ranks first in program history with 148 rejections, having surpassed Brian Cusworth '07. Wright broke the record with a rejection in the second half against Penn Feb. 25, 2012. Wright's 54 blocks last year also stand second in Harvard history for a single season. Brian Banks '78 had 59 rejections during the 1977-78 campaign.
 
Kyle Casey has rejected 89 blocks in his career, including 31 this season, ranking him fifth in program history in rejections.
 
Handing Out Dishes
Brandyn Curry has handed out 413 assists in his career, ranking the junior fifth in program history. Curry trails Glenn Fine '79 (559) for fourth place in the Harvard record book.
 
On The Big Screen
The Crimson will play at least nine games on national or regional television this season.
 
Harvard is 5-3 on TV this year after earning wins over Utah (HDNet),  No. 20/22 Florida State (Versus) and Central Florida (Versus) at the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Crimson also defeated Boston University (NESN) and  Boston College (ESPN3), but fell on the road at No. 9/9 Connecticut (ESPN2), at Princeton (ESPNU) and at home to Penn (ESPN3).
 
Coming Down With It
With his 10-rebound performance against Brown Feb. 17, Keith Wright now has 24 double digit rebound games in his career. Wright also has five double-doubles this season and has led Harvard in rebounding in 21 of 28 contests. Wright stands sixth in program history with 715 career rebounds. Harvard has outrebounded 15 of its last 18 opponents.
 
Hitting Baskets
Keith Wright stands first in the Ivy League in field-goal percentage, hitting 59.0 percent of his attempts this season (125-of-212).
 
Casting Ballots
Earlier this season, the Crimson became the first Ivy team ranked in the AP poll since Princeton was rated No. 8 in the final poll of the 1997-98 season. On Jan. 2, Harvard was No. 21 in the coaches poll and No. 22 in the AP poll, the highest rankings in program history. The Crimson matched the No. 21 ranking in the coaches poll Feb. 6.
 
Harvard is the only Ivy League team to have received at least one vote in a major national poll this season. The Crimson appeared in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll eight straight weeks: Dec. 19-Feb. 6.
 
Protecting The Ball
Entering the week, Brandyn Curry ranked first in the Ivy League and tied for 17th in the country in assist/turnover ratio (2.8).

Double-Double Show
Keith Wright leads the Crimson with five double-doubles (at Holy Cross Nov. 15, Florida Atlantic Dec. 22, at Monmouth Jan. 10, at Princeton Feb. 11 and Brown Feb. 17), while Kyle Casey (Saint Joseph's Dec. 31) and Jonah Travis (Seattle Dec. 4) have recorded one apiece this year. Wright has amassed 17 double-doubles over the course of his career in Cambridge.

Harvard/Amaker Against Columbia and Cornell
The Crimson boasts a 6-3 mark against Columbia under coach Amaker. After losing the first three games against the Lions under Amaker, Harvard has reeled off six consecutive victories since the 2008-09 season.

The Crimson is 4-5 against Cornell under head coach Tommy Amaker. Harvard swept the Big Red last year and has won the last three games in the series.
 
Lavietes Is The Place To Be
Harvard enjoyed a 28-game win streak at home, a program record, between Feb. 19, 2010 and Feb. 24, 2012. The streak was the second longest in the country during that stretch and Harvard finished 11-1 at home during this season after going 14-0 at Lavietes Pavilion last year.
 
Iron Horse
Oliver McNally has played in 115 games during his Harvard career, putting him tied for first with Jeremy Lin '10 for the most games played in Harvard history (115). Keith Wright has played in 106 games, placing him tied for seventh in program history.
 
Sold Out Lavietes
Harvard enjoyed 10 sellout crowds at Lavietes Pavilion this season (MIT, Saint Joseph's, Dartmouth, George Washington, Cornell, Columbia, Brown, Yale, Princeton and Penn). The Crimson sold out 10 of its 12 home games this season, a program record.
 
Defense Wins Games
The Crimson enters the week third in the country in scoring defense (54.0 points allowed per game).
 
Harvard had not allowed more than 49 points in four straight games (Nov. 24-Dec. 1) for the first time since the 1946-47 season, which was prior to the invention of the shot clock and the 3-point line.The Crimson also surrendered 38 or less points in two straight games (Jan. 21-27) for the first time since 1946-47. Harvard has only allowed more than 60 points in nine of 28 games this year and has held opponents to less than 60 points in nine of the last 12 contests.
 
Road Warriors
The Crimson, which currently owns a 13-3 record in road/neutral sites, will play a at least a total of 18 road/neutral games this winter. Harvard's 13 road/neutral sites wins this year is a new program record, surpassing 10 victories during the 2009-10 campaign. The Crimson is 10-3 on the road and 3-0 in neutral sites in 2011-12.
 
LinSanity: Harvard In The NBA
Former Harvard guard and three-time All-Ivy League honoree Jeremy Lin '10 has made quite an impact this season as a member of the New York Knicks. Lin, who was named to the NBA's Rising Stars Game (Feb. 24), is averaging 14.4 points per game and 5.8 assists per contest in 17 games with the New York Knicks this season. Lin tallied a career-high 38 points in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers Feb. 10, 2012.
 
With his NBA debut for the Golden State Warriors against the Los Angeles Clippers Oct. 29, 2010, Lin became the first Ivy League player to suit up for an NBA team since Penn's Matt Maloney played for the Atlanta Hawks and Yale's Chris Dudley was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2003. 
 
Lin joined former Harvard standouts Saul Mariaschin '47 (Boston Celtics) and Edward Smith '51 (New York Knicks) as Crimson players who have seen time in the NBA. During his first season in the NBA with Golden State, Lin played in 29 games, averaging 2.6 points per game and 1.4 assists per contest.
 
Head Coach Tommy Amaker
Tommy Amaker (Duke '87) is in his fifth season as head coach of the Harvard men's basketball team. He registered his 250th career coaching victory Dec. 4, 2011 against Seattle at Lavietes Pavilion. Amaker has guided Harvard to its first national ranking, as the Crimson was rated No. 25 in the AP poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches ranking Dec. 5, 2011. Amaker also led the Crimson to its first Ivy League title as well as the program's first appearance in the NIT. In addition, the Crimson established a program record with 23 victories in 2010-11.
 
He brings a 266-194 (.578) career head coaching record into today's game, including a 90-55 (.621) mark at Harvard, a 108-84 (.563) record at Michigan and a 68-55 (.553) record at Seton Hall.
 
Monthly Consistency
In the months of November, December, January and February, Harvard won six games. The Crimson went 6-0 in Nove mber, 6-1 in December, 6-1 in January and 6-2 in February.