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Harvard Men’s Basketball Falls in Final Seconds at St. Mary’s, 70-69

Siyani Chambers made all five of his 3-point shots at St. Mary's Monday (Kelley Cox).

MORAGA, Calif. – The Harvard men's basketball team went 9-of-15 from beyond the arc for the game, but the Crimson dropped a heartbreaker at St. Mary's, 70-69, at McKeon Pavilion in a game shown live nationally on ESPN2 Monday evening.

Jonah Travis tied his career-high with 19 points, making 8-of-10 field-goal attempts, while Siyani Chambers went 5-of-5 from beyond the arc and finished with 16 points and seven assists for Harvard, which falls to 7-5 on the year.

Wesley Saunders scored 14 points to extend his streak of reaching double digits in scoring to 12 games, and the Crimson shot 52.1 percent as a team (25-of-48). Saunders also added five assists and five rebounds. Laurent Rivard drained three 3-pointers and grabbed a team-high six rebounds for Harvard. Mitchell Young paced St. Mary's (11-3) with a 16-point effort.

Harvard led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but the Gaels outscored the Crimson, 49-34, in the second stanza to pull out the win.

With 1:03 left in the second half, St. Mary's cut Harvard's lead to just one point, 69-68, and then regained possession following a Crimson turnover with 21.4 seconds remaining. With 1.1 ticks left, Harvard was whistled for a foul, and Young made both foul shots for St. Mary's, giving the Gaels their first lead of the contest.

Travis scored the game's first four points, giving Harvard an early 4-0 lead after the first two minutes of play.Rivard drained a 3-pointer, as the Crimson went up 7-2, and then Travis added another bucket, making it 9-3 before the first media timeout. Saunders added two foul shots, giving the Crimson an eight-point lead, 11-3, and then accepted a pass from Chambers for a dunk, 13-3.

The Gaels went on a 8-0 run to get within two, 13-11, but Travis continued his scoring touch, making a layup, as Harvard led by four, 16-12. At the 10:31 mark, Steve Moundou-Missi drew contact before hitting a layup and added the free throw, making it 19-12. The Crimson went back up by 10-, 22-12, when Moundou-Missi launched a 3-pointer from the corner before the shot clock expired. Harvard added to its lead when Saunders stole the ball in the Harvard zone and dribbled the length of the floor, finishing with a layup, 24-12.

With 5:08 left in the half, Chambers drained a triple from the top of the key, and he then made another 3-pointer on the next trip down the floor, as Harvard led by 16, 30-14. The Crimson, which held St. Mary's to 5-of-27 shooting to open the game, went up by 18, 32-14, when Moundou-Missi made another basket in the paint. Before the close of the half, Rivard buried a triple, as the Crimson carried a 35-21 lead into the break.

Travis had nine points to lead the Crimson in the first, and Harvard held St. Mary's to 1-of-9 shooting (.111) from long distance in the first 20 minutes of action.

Saunders made two layups early in the second, and Travis connected on a basket off an assist by Chambers as the Crimson went up by 15, 41-26. The Gaels responded with an 11-3 run to make it a seven-point contest, 44-37, but Chambers drew a foul as the shot clock expired, and hit one free throw, 45-37.

Harvard went back up by double digits after a reverse layup by Travis, 47-37, and Chambers drained his fourth triple from the wing, 50-40. On the Crimson's next trip down the floor, Saunders made a nice move in the paint and used the backboard to make a basket, 52-42. The Gaels went on a mini-run, 6-0, to get within four, 52-48, but Saunders headed to the charity stripe and made both to get Harvard back up by six.

Chambers knocked down his fifth 3-pointer in as many tries, 57-50, and then Christian Webster made a strong move, finishing with a layup, 59-53. With 7:49 remaining, Travis hit a floater, as the Crimson led by seven, 61-54, and Rivard connected on a triple, giving Harvard a 10-point advantage.

With the shot clock winding down, Chambers sent a pass to Travis, who finished with a bucket under the hoop, 66-56. On Harvard's next possession, Travis scored on a two-handed dunk, giving him 19 points on the evening. The Gaels climbed back to within two, 68-66, with just over two minutes left, but Webster headed to the line on a loose-ball foul and hit one of two foul shots, 69-66.

The Crimson will return east and will host Rice at Lavietes Pavilion Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4 p.m.