Harvard Men’s Basketball Pulls Away from Holy Cross, 73-64

Keith Wright sends down a dunk in a 15-point, 10-rebound showing at Holy Cross in a 73-64 win on Nov. 15, 2011.
Keith Wright sends down a dunk in a 15-point, 10-rebound showing at Holy Cross in a 73-64 win on Nov. 15, 2011.
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WORCESTER, Mass. – Keith Wright scored 15 points and collected 10 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, to pick up his first double-double of the season, and Kyle Casey netted 16 to propel the Harvard men's basketball team to a 73-64 road win at Holy Cross Tuesday evening.

Harvard, which improves to 2-0 on the year, shot 55.6 percent (15-of-27) in the second half, outscoring the Crusaders, 39-30, in the stanza. Oliver McNally (14), Brandyn Curry (10, five assists, four steals) and Wesley Saunders (10) also finished with double figures in scoring for the Crimson.

A tenacious Harvard defense forced Holy Cross into 21 turnovers including a combined 13 from starting guards Devin Brown (17 points, seven turnovers) and Justin Burell.

The Crimson opened up with a 6-1 advantage in the first half with back-to-back baskets by Casey and then a layup by Wright. Holy Cross (0-2), though, battled back to tie the game, 13-13, just before the second media timeout. After the Crusaders pulled ahead, 17-13, McNally drilled four straight from the line to get Harvard back within two, 19-17.

Casey drilled a trey from the left side to put the Crimson back on top, 20-19, with just under nine to play in the first half. Holy Cross went over the limit with fouls midway through the first stanza, and Wright gave the Crimson a one-point edge, 24-23, with two from the charity stripe with 6:17 remaining. Harvard continued to utilize the free throw line, making 10 straight to pull back within, two, 30-28.

After the Crusaders went up by six, 34-28, Steve Moundou-Missi scored on an uncontested dunk, and Curry hit a layup from underneath the hoop to make it 34-32. Moundou-Missi added another bucket to tie the game, 34-34, just before the horn sounded ending the half. Holy Cross shot 56 percent from the floor (11-of-27) in the first half and outrebounded the Crimson, 14-11. Casey had 11 points at the half to lead Harvard.

Harvard went on a 9-2 run to begin the second half, 43-36, as Wright hit three baskets and Casey nailed his second trey. With the Crimson leading, 45-40, McNally throw up an alley-oop pass to Wright who finished with a two-handed slam. The Crusaders stayed in the game, cutting the Harvard lead to three, 48-45, with 13 minutes to go.

With 9:54 to play, Saunders converted a conventional three-point play to give Harvard a six-point advantage, 51-45. Saunders added another three-point play just minutes later to give Harvard another six-point edge, 56-50.  The Crimson took advantage of its trips to the foul line, opening up a 10-point edge, 62-52, with six minutes remaining.

After a dunk by Casey and a bucket by Curry, Harvard opened its largest lead, 69-54, with 4:02 to play.  With just under two minutes left, McNally buried two more free throws to put the game out of reach, 71-58.

Up next, Harvard will travel to Los Angeles to visit Loyola Marymount Saturday, Nov. 19. Opening tip is slated for 9:30 p.m. EST.