Jonah Travis and the Crimson improved to 3-1 at home this season (Kevin Burns).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Jonah Travis had a double-double, finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds, as the Harvard men's basketball team defeated Fordham, 73-64, Saturday afternoon at Lavietes Pavilion.
Wesley Saunders added a game-high 17 points, hitting 13-of-18 free throws, and Siyani Chambers scored 13 points for Harvard, which evens its record to 3-3 on the year. Agunwa Okolie also reached double figures in points, tallying 11 points, while pulling down seven boards. Branden Frazier led Fordham with 16 points, as the Rams slip to 1-6 this season.
The Crimson knocked down 40 percent of its 3-point attempts (6-of-15), and scored 20 points off Fordham turnvoers.
Saunders scored Harvard's first basket by driving the lane and drawing contact before hitting a layup and the ensuing free throw, tying the game, 3-3. Okolie, who made his first-career start, added a dunk moments later, giving the Crimson a 5-3 lead. After Fordham went up, 7-5, Saunders made another nice move in the lane, making a basket after being fouled, 8-7. With just over 14 minutes left in the first, Kenyatta Smith scored on a tip-in, giving the Crimson a 10-9 advantage.
The Rams went on a 10-0 run to go up by nine, 19-9, with 11:38 remaining, and then added to its lead with a dunk by Ryan Canty off a Fordham miss, making it 21-10. After Saunders hit two foul shots, Chambers made a pass under the hoop to Travis, who finished with a layup, pulling Harvard back within seven, 21-14. Christian Webster stepped up on Harvard's next possession and nailed a 3-pointer from the corner, as Harvard extended its run to 7-0 and made it a 21-17 game with 9:23 left.
On the next trip down the floor, Travis hit another layup, and connected on a free throw after being fouled, as it became a one-point game, 21-20. Chambers headed to the charity stripe at the 8:24 mark, and made both, giving Harvard a 22-21 lead and extending the scoring run to 12-0. With 6:46 left, Travis drew contact yet again before hitting a layup, giving the Crimson a 24-23 advantage. After Harvard went up 27-23 after making more foul shots, Travis grabbed an offensive board and put it back to give the Crimson a six-point lead, 29-23.
Laurent Rivard buried a triple off an assist by Chambers with just over three minutes to play, but Fordham answered with its own 3-pointer seconds later, 32-31. Harvard carried a 36-33 lead into the break, thanks to shooting 85.7 percent from the line (12-of-14) and a 20-6 edge in rebounds. Travis led all players with 12 points in the first 20 minutes.
In the second, Okolie made a layup on the break, as Harvard led, 38-35, and then Travis collected an offensive rebound for another basket in the paint, 40-35. With 15:02 left, Christian Webster dribbled the lane, and finished with a bucket, as Harvard went up by six, 43-37.
Fordham got into foul trouble early in the second half, as the Crimson grew its lead to 46-37 by the 13:02 mark. After the Rams went on a mini-run to cut Harvard's advantage to 46-41, Chambered hit a 3-pointer, making it a 49-43 contest in favor of the Crimson. With less than eight minutes to play, Saunders sent a pass to Chambers, who banked a 3-pointer off the backboard, as Harvard continued to lead, 57-48.
Rivard hit another triple for the Crimson moments later, as Harvard widened its advantage to 10, 60-50.The Rams crawled back to within seven, 62-55, with 4:28 left, and then made it a four-point game, 63-59, with 3:18 to play. Chambers hit his third shot of the day from beyond the arc to stretch the lead back to seven, 66-59, and then Saunders was fouled after grabbing a miss off his own shot with 1:39 left. Saunders hit one foul shot, as Harvard led by eight, 67-59, with 1:39 to go.
With 33.1 ticks left, Okolie headed to the line with Harvard up by four, 67-63, and hit both, making it 69-63.
The Crimson will head on the road for two games, beginning with a contest at Boston College Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. The game will be shown live on ESPN3.com.