Harvard Men’s Basketball Grabs First Place in Ivy With 69-57 Win Over Princeton

Kenyatta Smith rejected 16 shots this weekend (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Five players reached double figures in scoring, as the Harvard men's basketball team moved into sole possession of first place in the Ivy League with a 69-57 win over Princeton before a sold out crowd at Lavietes Pavilion Saturday evening. With the win, Christian Webster became Harvard's winningest player, picking up his 85th career victory.

Laurent Rivard drained four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points, while Kenyatta Smith swatted six shots and went 5-of-5 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line for 14 points and seven rebounds. Wesley Saunders extended his streak of scoring in double figures to 22 games, tallying 10 points. Siyani Chambers added 11 points and five assists, and Steve Moundou-Missi sank five baskets and contributed 14 points and seven rebounds, as the Crimson improved to 15-7 and 7-1 in the Ivy League. Ian Hummer tallied 18 points for the Tigers, who fall to 12-9 and 5-2 in conference action.

The Crimson drained 7-of-18 3-pointers (.389) and was 16-of-18 (.889) from the foul line for the game and held a 30-27 advantage in boards against the Tigers. Harvard is now 11-1 at home this year.

Smith made a jump hook to give Harvard a 2-0 edge, but Princeton scored the next five points to go up, 5-2, at the 16:15 mark. Smith added another hook, as Harvard grabbed a 6-5 advantage, and then Chambers made a jumper to give the Crimson a three-point edge, 8-5. With Princeton leading, 14-10, Saunders drew contact before hitting a bucket off the backboard and hit the ensuing free throw to make it a one-point game.

After Moundou-Missi connected on a long jumper to put Harvard up, 15-14, and then Moundou-Missi took a pass from  Webster and threw down a strong dunk, 17-14. Webster drained a triple and then Moundou-Missi made a nice move on a reverse layup, as the Crimson remained in front, 22-21.

With the game tied, 26-26, Laurent Rivard nailed a 3-pointer after Chambers grabbed an offensive board to keep the Harvard possession alive, 29-26. In the final seconds of the half, Rivard attempted a 3-pointer, but it was blocked. However, Rivard got the rebound and threw up another triple that beat the buzzer, making it 32-28 at the break.

The Crimson shot 50 percent (13-of-26) in the first half and the edge in rebounds, 13-10.

Smith gave Harvard a six-point cushion with a layup to start the second, 34-28, and then Chambers nailed a triple, 37-30. Moments later, Webster connected on a trey, 40-33, and then Rivard nailed his third triple of the game to make it a 10-point game, 45-35.

With 11:36 left, Saunders scored on an and-one and then made the foul shot, 48-37, but the Tigers answered with a 5-0 run to pull within six, 48-42, with just over 10 minutes left. At the 8:26 mark, Smith came down with an offensive board and made two foul shots after drawing a foul, 52-42.

Smith added a layup, as Harvard led, 55-44, and then Rivard nailed another 3-pointer from the wing, as the Crimson remained in control, 58-46. With less than three minutes to go, Moundou-Missi stole the ball at midcourt and headed to the line and hit one, 63-50.

Up next, Harvard will head back on the road to visit Brown and Yale Feb. 22-23.