Men's Basketball Knocks Off Boston College In Front of Sold-Out Crowd
Harvard rolled to an eighth straight win and a 16th consecutive victory at home (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's basketball team kept a trio of streaks alive on Wednesday with a 73-58 win over Boston College in front of a sold-out crowd at Lavietes Pavilion.
The victory was the Crimson's eighth straight as it improved to 12-1 overall, matching the program's best start under head coach Tommy Amaker. Harvard also registered its 16th straight win at home, and earned its sixth consecutive victory against Boston College, which fell to 4-10 on the year.
Additionally, the win was the 300th of Amaker's career which has spanned 17 seasons at Seton Hall, Michigan and Harvard. Amaker has picked up 124 wins in seven seasons at the helm of the Crimson.
Wesley Saunders and Kyle Casey filled the stat sheet for Harvard with Saunders' 21 points proving to be a game-high. The junior was an efficient 8-of-10 from the field, 4-of-5 from the line, and added six rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks. Casey, meanwhile, turned in his second double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists and three blocks.
Jonah Travis also reached double-digits off the bench with 11 points as Harvard combined to shoot 50.0 percent (24-48) for the game. BC, meanwhile, managed to shoot 40.0 percent (20-50) despite beginning the game 7-of-26 in the first half. The Crimson also outrebounded the Eagles by a 36-24 spread and scored 14 points in transition.
Ryan Anderson led Boston College with 17 points while Oliver Hanlan, the team's top scorer and the 38th-leading scorer in the nation coming into the game, was held to 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
Harvard scored on four straight possessions to open an 8-1 lead and force a Boston College timeout. Laurent Rivard scored the first bucket with a backdoor cut for an easy layup and was followed by a Casey layup in transition. After a Saunders step back, Siyani Chambers got into the lane and dropped a floater over a pair of Eagle defenders for the seven-point edge. Another jumper by Saunders opened a 7-0 stretch for the Crimson, capped off by Agunwa Okolie on the break for an 11-point margin, 17-6.
Steve Moundou-Missi got into the box score with five quick points before Saunders came away with a steal at midcourt and finished at the other end to extend the lead to 26-11. Free throws from Evan Cummins and Travis helped Harvard to a 30-13 advantage, and an and-one from Moundou-Missi made it a 20-point game, 33-13. Boston College bounced back with seven unanswered points, but four points from Saunders and free throws from Casey gave the Crimson a 39-25 margin at the break.
Saunders led all scorers through the first 20 minutes with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting with Moundou-Missi adding eight and Casey notching seven points and six boards. The Crimson shot 52.2 percent (12-23) in the frame against a 26.9 percent (7-26) performance by BC, and outrebounded the Eagles 21-12.
An 8-0 stretch early in the second half cut BC's deficit to six, 43-37. Jonah Travis ended the spurt with a strong putback, and after a Saunders three Harvard was back up 48-39. Another Travis basket regained a double-digit margin, 50-39, but the Eagles hung tough and were down by just seven points at the midway point, 54-47.
A pair of baskets by Anderson made it a 56-51 game before Saunders went coast-to-coast off a Moundou-Missi block to end the slide. Another block, this time from Casey, started another transition opportunity for the Crimson, with this fast break ending in a Chambers three-pointer for a 63-51 edge. Four points by Saunders extended the lead to 67-53, as Harvard held on for a 73-58 win.
Game Notes: Harvard improves to 12-1 on the year, matching the program's best start under head coach Tommy Amaker … Harvard has started 12-1 or better three times in program history; 2011-12 (12-1), 1945-46 (19-1) … Harvard has won eight straight games overall, it's longest win streak since 2012, and has won 16 straight games at Lavietes Pavilion … The victory marks the 300th of head coach Tommy Amaker's career, 124 of which have come in Cambridge … Harvard has defeated Boston College six straight years, the longest streak for the Crimson in series history … Harvard improves to 23-6 against in-state rivals under head coach Tommy Amaker and 17-4 against Boston area schools … Wesley Saunders went over 20 points for the fourth time this season, 10th time in his career … Today's game marked the second straight sell out for the Crimson.