Pictured: Laurent Rivard connected for a season-high 21 points Saturday in Harvard's 92-62 win over Rice (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRDIGE, Mass. – Laurent Rivard went 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, finishing with a game-high and season-high 21 points, as the Harvard men's basketball team took down Rice, 92-62, Saturday afternoon at Lavietes Pavilion.
With the victory, Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker picked up his 100th career victory with the Crimson. Harvard's 92 points was the most for the Crimson since winning 92-71 at Seattle Jan. 2, 2010.
Wesley Saunders extended his streak of reaching double digits in points, as he also scored 21 points, tying his career-high, on 8-of-9 shooting, while Kenyatta Smith tallied a career-high 11 points, going 4-of-4 from the field. Siyani Chambers handed out 10 assists with 14 points for his first career double-double in helping the Crimson go 31-of-48 from the floor as a team (.646). Jonah Travis also reached double figures in scoring, finishing with 10 points. Harvard also shot 8-of-15 from beyond the arc, as the team improves to 8-5 overall and 6-1 at home.
Max Guercy paced Rice (3-10) with 19 points. Harvard held the Owls to 19-of-49 shooting (.388), including 8-of-22 from 3-point range (.364).
The Crimson jumped out to a 4-0 lead, and then Saunders made it 6-2 when he scored on a two-handed jam. Moments later, Chambers added a bucket on the break, 8-2, but Rice went on a mini-run, 5-0, to cut Harvard's lead to one, 8-7, with just over 16 minutes left in the first. After Christian Webster nailed a 3-pointer, Jonah Travis received a pass from Chambers and finished with a dunk, 13-7, as the Crimson made its first six shots of the game.
With Harvard leading, 13-10, Rivard connected on a triple from the wing, as the Crimson went up by six, 16-10. Smith made two foul shots and then hit a hook shot in the lane, giving Harvard a 10-point advantage, 20-10. With just under nine minutes left, Rivard made his second 3-pointer from the top of the key, making it, 23-10. Rivard connected on his third trey, 26-12, and then Saunders scored on another jam, 28-12.
Webster made a nice move in the lane and finished with a jumper, 32-15, with just over five minutes remaining, On Harvard's next possession, Rivard drained his fourth 3-pointer of the half, as the Crimson led, 35-16. At the 2:01 mark, Smith drew contact before hitting a layup and made the ensuing foul shot, 38-21. With less than two minutes left in the half, Travis grabbed his own offensive board and finished with a layup, 40-21,
With the clock winding down in the first half, Chambers stepped inside the Rice zone and nailed a long 3-pointer before time expired, making it 43-21 heading into the break. Rivard led all players with 15 points in the first half, as he went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Chambers had six assists in the first 20 minutes, and Smith rejected three shots in the first stanza. As a team, the Crimson shot 16-of-26 from the field (.615) and 6-of-11 from 3-point range (.545).
Travis opened the second with a reverse layup, 45-21, and then added a dunk moments later off an assist by Wesley Saunders, as the Crimson went up by 26, 47-21. Harvard upped its lead to 49-23 after Chambers made a jump shot, before Saunders hit a layup, 51-23. With 15:40 left, Saunders was fouled attempting a layup and hit the basket and ensuing foul shot, 54-28.
At the 14:38 mark, Smith added his own and-one, making it 56-30, and then made another bucket, as the Crimson led, 58-31. With less than 13 minutes to go, Rivard connected on his fifth 3-pointer, and Saunders hit a turnaround jumper, as Harvard went up by 30, 67-37.
Chambers knocked down another 3-pointer after letting the ball go with a quick release, making it a 31-point advantage for Harvard, 76-45. With 4:32 left, Rivard completed an and-one with a free throw, as the Crimson continued to control all facets of the game, 81-51.
Harvard will open conference play by visiting Dartmouth Saturday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m.