No. 21/22 Harvard Men’s Basketball Pulls Away in Second Half, Tops Dartmouth, 63-47

Oliver McNally led the Crimson to a victory over Dartmouth in Ivy League play Saturday afternoon (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Oliver McNally tallied a season-high 17 points, draining 3-of-4 shots from beyond the arc, leading the No. 21/22 Harvard men's basketball team to a 63-47 win over Dartmouth in the Crimson's Ivy League opener before a sold out crowd at Lavietes Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

The win pushes Harvard's overall record to 13-2 (1-0 Ivy), while Dartmouth slips to 3-13 (0-1). Harvard also extends its home win streak to 22. The Crimson hit 8-of-20 treys on the day (.400) and held a 28-27 advantage on the boards. Kyle Casey added 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting and six boards, while Keith Wright contributed 10 points and five rebounds. Laurent Rivard buried three triples, finishing with nine points. Dartmouth only had one steal and no blocked shots, while the Crimson had three rejections and nine steals.

Casey netted Harvard's first seven points, including two on a two-handed jam after receiving a pass inside from McNally, as well as an open trey, as the Crimson lead, 7-6, early. The Big Green netted the next three points to pull ahead, 9-7, but Brandyn Curry found McNally for a triple, making it 10-9 in favor of the Crimson. Rivard nailed another shot from beyond the arc for the Crimson, giving Harvard a four-point edge, 13-9, with 12 minutes left in the opening half.

Following a media timeout with 11:30 remaining, Jonah Travis drilled a jumper as Harvard opened a six-point lead, 17-11, as the Crimson went on an 10-2 run. Wright made a layup from under the hoop with 7:43 led, pushing Harvard's advantage to 19-11 and extending the scoring run to 12-2. The Big Green narrowed the margin to three, 21-18, with three minutes remaining, but Wesley Saunders pushed the lead back to five with two free throws.

With time winding down at the half, Dartmouth cut the deficit to one, 23-22, as the game headed to the break. Casey led the Crimson with eight points in the first half, but Harvard only shot 38.9 percent from the field (7-of-18) in the opening stanza.

Dartmouth's John Golden made a triple to open the second half, giving the Big Green a two-point edge, 25-23, but Wright responded with back-to-back layups to reclaim the lead for Harvard, 27-25. Dartmouth went on a 9-0 run to pull ahead, 34-27, but McNally drained a triple off a pass from Curry to get within four, 34-30, with 15:43 remaining. A jump hook in the lane by Wright got Harvard back within two baskets, 36-32, with just over 13 minutes to go.

Rivard found McNally for a wide-open trey from the right corner on the Crimson's next possession, as Harvard cut the deficit to one, 36-35. The Crimson extended its scoring run to 8-0 with a conventional 3-point play by Curry with 12 minutes left in the second.  Another triple by Rivard gave Harvard a three-point edge, McNally followed with two successful foul shots to make it 43-38.

Rivard made his third trey of the game to give Harvard an eight-point lead, 46-38, with just under 10 minutes to play. Curry found McNally with a pass for a layup on the break, making it 48-40, on the Crimson's next trip down the floor. Wright pushed Harvard's lead to 10, 50-40, with a bucket in the paint, and Saunders drilled two foul shots, giving the Crimson a 12-point advantage, 52-40, with five minutes left.

In the final minutes, McNally and Casey hit shots in the lane, giving Harvard a 56-42 lead at the final media timeout of the game.

Up next, the Crimson will visit Monmouth in a non-conference matchup Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.