Rivard, Saunders Lead Harvard to 67-62 Win at Cal

Laurent Rivard scored a season-high 19 points Saturday (Kelley Cox).

BERKELEY, Calif. – Laurent Rivard made five 3-pointers and scored a team-high 19 points, while Wesley Saunders added 18 points to help the Harvard men's basketball team earn a 67-62 win at California Saturday evening.

Rivard's 19 points mark a season-best, as he went 5-of-12 from beyond the arc. Siyani Chambers handed out a career-high nine assists, and Jonah Travis grabbed eight rebounds, as the Crimson improve to 7-4 overall on the season. Allen Crabbe tallied a game-high 27 points for the Bears, who fall to 8-4 this year.

The Crimson connected on 10-of-27 3-point attempts (.370) and held Cal to 0-of-6 shooting from long distance for the game.

Rivard knocked down a triple at 17:47, giving Harvard its first basket and putting the Crimson up by a 3-2 score. After Christian Webster drained a 3-pointer, which made it a 6-2 game in favor of Harvard, Travis hit the second of two free throws to put the Crimson up by five. With just over 13 minutes left in the first, Rivard stepped up and hit his second trey, as Harvard led by four, 10-6.

With Harvard holding a two-point edge, Webster buried his second shot from beyond the arc, as the Crimson opened up a five-point lead, 13-8. Steve Moundou-Missi connected on back-to-back buckets to make it a 17-12 contest, but Cal responded with a mini-run to cut the deficit to one, 17-16. Following a put-back dunk by Travis, which gave the Crimson a 19-16 lead, Saunders got on the scoring sheet by knocking down Harvard's fifth 3-pointer of the half, 22-18.

After the Golden Bears came back to tie the game, 24-24, Kenyatta Smith put Harvard on top again with a jump hook, 26-24, with 2:59 remaining. Webster drained two foul shots to make it a four-point game, 28-24, and then Chambers made another triple, giving Harvard a 31-26 lead. In the final seconds of the first, Saunders added a layup on the break, giving the Crimson its largest advantage to that point, 33-26.  

Harvard shot 6-of-17 (.353) from long distance in the first half, and Webster had a team-high eight points in the first 20 minutes.

In the second, Travis opened the scoring with a layup, 35-26, but Cal netted the next six points pull within five, 35-32, at the 15:59 mark. On Harvard's next possession, Rivard made his third triple of the night, as the Crimson went back up by six, 38-32. After the Bears made it a two-point game, Cal was called for a technical foul with 14:28 remaining. Rivard was selected to shoot the ensuing foul shots and made both, making it 40-36.

With 13:36 to play, Saunders headed to the foul line and connected on both, as Harvard grew its lead back to six, 42-36. Following a layup by Moundou-Missi, Saunders drilled a jump shot, as the Crimson went up by nine, 46-37. Cal climbed back to tie the game, 46-46, at 9:49, as the Bears went on a 9-0 run.

Saunders put Harvard back up by two, 50-48, with a bucket in the paint at 9:32, and then hit another basket on the Crimson's next trip up the floor, 52-50. Saunders and Rivard connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, as Harvard grew its lead back to six, 56-50, at the 7:25 mark.

The Bears came back again to cut Harvard's lead to two, 56-54, but Travis scored on an open layup, giving the Crimson a four-point edge, with just over six minutes to go. After Cal tied the game, 58-58, Rivard knocked down a triple, putting Harvard ahead by three with 3:13 remaining. With the Crimson leading, 61-60, Cal answered with a bucket to go up, 62-61, grabbing its first lead since 2-0 early in the contest.

With 1:13 left, Saunders was fouled and headed to the line. He made both shots, giving Harvard a one-point edge, 63-62. In the final moments of the game, Travis grabbed a big offensive rebound, and Chambers was fouled with 17 seconds left. Chambers made both free throws, giving the Crimson a 65-62 advantage. Rivard added two more foul shots, as the Crimson went up by five, 67-62, in the final seconds.

Harvard will visit St. Mary's Monday, Dec. 31 in a game shown on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. EST.