Men's Basketball Takes Care of Business at Fordham, 94-86
Okolie's career-high 17 points helped the Crimson to a seventh straight win (Sam Wasson).
BRONX, N.Y. – Six Crimson scored in double-digits as the Harvard men's basketball team held off Fordham Saturday afternoon at Rose Hill Gym, 94-86.
The victory was Harvard's seventh straight and improves the team to 11-1 overall. Fordham falls to 7-5 with the defeat.
Siyani Chambers led the way with 19 points and nine assists, shooting 5-of-9 from three-point range. Kyle Casey and Agunwa Okolie each scored 17 points, with Wesley Saunders (14 points), Steve Moundou-Missi (11 points) and Laurent Rivard (10 points) also reaching double figures.
Harvard registered a season-high 24 assists on 30 makes to finish the game shooting 56.6 percent (30-53) from the field. The Crimson also went 9-of-18 from three, and was 25-of-35 from the line.
Branden Frazier scored 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting to pace the Rams with Jon Severe adding 29 points on the strength of an 11-of-19 performance. Fordham shot 47.8 percent (33-69) for the game and made seven three-pointers, but was just 13-of-20 at the line.
Harvard looked sharp early and held Fordham to 1-of-4 shooting for an 8-4 lead. Casey scored six of the Crimson's first eight points, including a two-handed alley-oop off a feed from Chambers. Jonah Travis moved the score to 10-7 with a strong move under the basket, and after a three-pointer from Chambers Harvard was on top by six, 13-7.
The Rams responded with a 9-1 stretch and took their first lead off a Frazier three, 16-14. Evan Cummins came right back for the Crimson with a basket in the paint, and a triple from Saunders put Harvard back in front, 19-16. The lead did not last long, however, as four straight points from Travion Leonard moved the score to 20-19 in favor of the hosts.
Trailing 25-23, Casey hit a jumper which sparked a 15-0 run as Harvard looked to pull away. Chambers followed with his third three-pointer of the day, and an Okolie layup earned the Crimson a 30-25 edge. Saunders later scored five straight points, giving Harvard a 38-25 margin with 3:50 to play. Chambers connected yet again from deep to put the score at 43-30, and the teams went into the half with Harvard leading 43-32.
Chambers led Harvard with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three at the break as the Crimson combined to shoot 54.2 percent (13-24). Fordham, meanwhile, shot just 36.1 percent (13-36) and was led by Frazier's 16 points.
Harvard came out of the intermission with three straight stops on defense and three straight scores on offense, taking a 49-32 advantage off a two-handed Casey dunk. A lob from Chambers to Okolie put the score at 56-41, but following three three-pointers from Severe Fordham's deficit stood at 10 points, 60-50.
Frazier connected on a trey of his own to make it a 60-53 game, and after Severe's fourth make from deep the score stood at 62-56. Moundou-Missi made 1-of-2 at the line to stop the bleeding before Chambers' final trey regained a double-digit margin for the Crimson, 66-56. Laurent Rivard pushed the advantage to 71-58 with his make from the corner, and following an and-one by Saunders it was a 76-61 game.
The Rams had one more run in them as another three-pointer from Severe and a dunk by Leonard cut the lead to six, 82-76. Chambers found Okolie under the basket alone for his own two-handed slam, and after a Casey layup Harvard was on top by eight, 86-78. It was just a four-point game following a pair of free throws by Frazier, 86-82, but makes by Rivard, Okolie and Chambers at the line helped to ice the game away, 94-86.
Game Notes: Harvard improves to 11-1, matching the program's best start to a season under head coach Tommy Amaker … Harvard has started 11-1 or better three times in program history; 2011-12 (12-1), 1945-46 (19-1) … Harvard has won seven straight games overall, it's longest win streak since 2012 … Laurent Rivard moved into 10th place in Ivy League history with 232 career three-pointers … Agunwa Okolie scored a career-high 17 points off the bench on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor, 4-of-6 from the line … The win was the 299th of head coach Tommy Amaker's career … Harvard's 94 points were the most for the Crimson since a 94-51 win over Daniel Webster Dec. 28, 2008 … Six Crimson scored in double-digits; Siyani Chambers (19 pts.), Kyle Casey (17 pts.), Agunwa Okolie (17 pts.), Wesley Saunders (14 pts.), Steve Moundou-Missi (11 pts.) and Laurent Rivard (10 pts.).