Harvard knocked off Boston College for the third straight year (Harvard Athletic Communications).
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Laurent Rivard set a new career-high and led Harvard with 23 points, while Keith Wright added 15, as the Crimson men's basketball team earned a 78-69 win at Boston College Wednesday evening. Harvard, which improves to 10-3 on the year, has now defeated Boston College (11-4) in three straight seasons.
The Crimson made 23-of-24 shots from the foul line of the game, good for a 95.8-percent success rate. Harvard also made 25-of-56 chances from the field overall and 5-of-15 from beyond the arc. Christian Webster tallied 13 points, while Oliver McNally netted 12 and Brandyn Curry scored 10 and made eight assists for Harvard, while Joe Trapani led the Eagles with 21.
Following a layup by Kyle Casey for the first basket of the game for Harvard, the Eagles went on a 10-0 run to open a 10-2 lead over the Crimson. The BC run ended when Curry, standing at the top of the key, made an alley-oop pass over the middle to Casey, who slammed the ball home. Wright then hit two jumpers for the Crimson, cutting Harvard's deficit to four, 12-8, at the first media timeout. A trey from McNally at the 13:50 mark got Harvard within three, 14-11, and then Christian Webster buried two shots to bringing Harvard within two, 15-13.
Rivard made a three with nine minutes to play in the half, breaking up a 9-2 run over the Eagles, as he made it a 24-18 game. The Crimson attacked the basket in the latter stages of the first frame, earning 14 free-throw attempts in the opening stanza, making 13 of those chances. After Rivard drained two from the charity stripe, Brandyn Curry hit two more, bringing Harvard within three, 26-23, with 5:41 to go. On the ensuing Harvard possession, Rivard weaved his way through the BC defense underneath the basket and hit a layup, pulling Harvard within a single point, 26-25. Rivard hit two more shots from the foul line on the next Crimson possession, giving the Crimson its first lead since early in the half, 27-26.
In the final stages of the first, Rivard made his fifth and sixth shots from the foul line in as many chances, and then Curry made a layup through traffic, giving Harvard a four-point edge, 33-29. The Crimson, which shot 37.5 percent for the half, carried the four-point lead into halftime, as the Crimson went on a 18-5 run to close the opening half.
Harvard came out strong in the second half, as Webster hit a jumper from the right side and then Wright connected on a layup, as the Crimson grabbed a six-point advantage, 37-31. After a steal by Casey in the BC end of the floor, Rivard drove the lane and hit another layup, making it 43-38 in favor of the Crimson. After BC got within a point of Harvard, Wright accepted a pass from Curry and made a two-handed dunk with a foul over BC's Trapani. Wright hit the ensuing free throw putting Harvard up four, 48-44.
A trey by Rivard with just under 11 minutes to go gave Harvard a 10-point cushion, 54-44. McNally made an acrobatic reverse layup under the hoop with eight minutes to play, making it 61-53 in favor of the Crimson, as Harvard established consistency in the paint. With 4:43 to remaining, Webster gave Harvard its biggest lead of the game, as he drained two from the foul line, putting the Crimson up 12, 68-56.
The Eagles scored nine of the game's next 11 points to pull within five, 70-65, with 2:02 remaining. With time winding down on Harvard's next possession, Rivard put the Crimson back up seven, clinching the game for the Crimson.
Harvard will open up its conference schedule at Dartmouth Saturday, Jan.8 at 4 p.m.