Harvard Men’s Basketball Improves to 2-0 in Italy

Dee Giger and the Crimson are now 2-0 in Italy (Harvard Athletic Communications).

FLORENCE, Italy – The Harvard men's basketball team pulled away from Pallacanestro Firenze, winning by a score of 88-67 Friday evening, as five Crimson players scored in double figures. With the win, the Crimson pushes its record to 2-0 on its foreign tour trip of Italy.

Kyle Casey paced the Crimson with 17 points, making seven field goals, while Brandyn Curry and Christian Webster tallied 14 points apiece. Wesley Saunders (13) and Jonah Travis (12) also reached double digits in scoring for Harvard. Steve Moundou-Missi and Travis each led the way with six rebounds, while Saunders dished out seven assists.

After a quick start, the Crimson led, 9-8, midway through the first quarter, but Pallacanestro Firenze scored on two straight possessions to move ahead, 13-11. Saunders made the back end of two free throws, followed by two successful foul shots by Casey, as the Crimson regained an advantage, 14-13. Those three foul shots opened up a run for Harvard, as Webster knocked down a trey from the corner to make it 19-13 in favor of the Crimson.

Harvard grew that scoring run to 12-0, moving ahead by 10, 23-13, in the final stages of the opening quarter. In the second, Pallacanestro Firenzo scored the first six points of the frame, but the Crimson answered with four straight buckets of its own, including two on fast break dunks by Casey and Saunders, giving Harvard a 31-19 advantage. Harvard continued to attack the rim, as Moundou-Missi, Saunders and Dee Giger all connected on chances in the paint in the span of less than a minute, helping Harvard go up by 16, 40-24, with 3:57 remaining in first half.

With 28 ticks left on the clock, Curry slipped a pass to Saunders, who drove the lane and finished with a bucket, as Harvard led, 47-35. Curry drained a trey before the buzzer sounded to end the half, giving Harvard a 50-35 advantage at the break. Casey led all Crimson players with 11 points in the first 20 minutes of action.

In the third, Curry hit a runner through traffic with 6:23 left, making it a 60-44 contest in favor of Harvard. Moments later, Curry added a triple from the right side, giving Harvard its largest lead to that point, 63-44. The Crimson took a 69-54 lead into the final frame, and Casey opened the fourth with an exclamation points for Harvard, stealing the ball at midcourt and finishing with a thunderous two-handed slam on the break.

With 5:59 left in the game, Ugo Okam threw down a dunk of his own, giving the Crimson a 23-point edge, 79-56. Harvard went on to lead by as much as 24 down the stretch to hold on for its second straight win in Italy.

The Crimson will return to action tomorrow evening when the team takes on Bassano Basket in Bassano Del Grappa.