Harvard celebrating after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis (Kerzner International/Issac Baldizon).
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas –Kyle Casey netted 15 points and came down with nine boards, while Keith Wright scored 12 and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Harvard men's basketball team to a 59-49 win over Central Florida in the championship game of the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis tournament Saturday afternoon.
With the three-game sweep at the tournament, Harvard improves to 6-0 for the first time since the 1984-85 season. Following the championship game, Wright was named tournament MVP.
The Crimson did not allow an opponent to score more than 49 points during the three-game tournament, and Harvard led for 119 of 120 minutes at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Oliver McNally dished out a team-high five assists for Harvard. Keith Clanton tallied 12 points, and Marcus Jordan contributed 10 points to pace UCF.
Following a Christian Webster trey to open the scoring, Wright made a layup under the hoop to give Harvard an early 5-1 lead. Webster sank another 3-pointer to give Harvard an 8-1 advantage prior to the first media timeout. Wright converted on another layup as Harvard lead, 12-5, after the first seven minutes of action.
Laurent Rivard buried a triple from the right side as Harvard opened an eight-point lead, 17-9. Corbin Miller followed with a 3-pointer of his own, making it 20-9 in favor of the Crimson. After UCF (4-2) got back to within seven, 23-16, Casey hit a jumper from the lane with just under six minutes to go. With 4:18 remaining, Rivard made two from the line to give Harvard a 29-17 advantage.
Late in the first, Casey made a tip-in off a missed shot, as Harvard grew its lead to 33-17. The Crimson, which carried a 33-18 lead into halftime, shot 54.5 percent from the floor (12-of-22) and 44.4 percent from long distance (4-of-9) in the first stanza. McNally dished out five assists in the half, while Wright paced the Crimson with seven points.
Wright increased Harvard's lead to 35-18 with a layup to start the second half. The Knights followed with a 9-4 run to get within 12, 39-27, with 15 minutes to play. With just under 12 minutes left, Casey made a floater to up Harvard's lead to 42-29.
The Knights crawled back to cut the deficit to 10, 44-34, with 8:46 to play. Brandyn Curry stepped two the free-throw line and buried two shots with under eight minutes left to up the Crimson lead to 46-34. Wright hit a bucket on Harvard's next possession, as the Crimson began to pull away, 48-34.
With under two minutes to go, Casey headed to the line and made one shot, giving Harvard a 10-point edge, 52-42. The Crimson made seven more free throws before time expired to finish off UCF for the win.
The Crimson will return north and visit Vermont Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.