The Harvard men's basketball team returns home to the friendly confines of Lavietes Pavilion Saturday, Dec. 21 to host Vermont at 4 p.m. live on the Ivy League Digital Network. The Crimson had spent the last month of the season on the road, going 5-1 in that time to improve to 9-1 overall.
• At 9-1, Harvard has matched its best 10-game start to a season under head coach Tommy Amaker. The Crimson also began 9-1 in 2011-12 en route to a 26-5 record, a second straight Ivy League title and the program's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1946.
• With Harvard (9-1) and Princeton (8-1) each having only one loss, this marks the first time two Ivy League teams have started 8-1 or better since the 1969-70 season. This is also only the third time in league history two teams have begun 8-1 or better, and is the first time since 1922-23 that both Harvard and Princeton have done so.
• Harvard has won 14 straight games in Lavietes Pavilion dating back to last season. The program record for consecutive wins at home was set between Feb. 19, 2010 and Feb. 24, 2012, when the Crimson reeled off 28 straight victories.
• Harvard has won five straight games overall, marking the team's longest win streak since taking nine in-a-row between Jan. 7 and Feb. 10, 2012. The Crimson enjoyed a program record 13-game win streak in 1945-46 en route to a 19-3 record and the team's first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
• With the team's win two weeks ago at Boston University, head coach Tommy Amaker has moved into sole possession of third place on Harvard's career wins list. Frank Sullivan won a program record 178 games between 1991-07, breaking the previous mark of 143 wins set by Floyd Wilson from 1954-68. Amaker has now won 121 games in Cambridge and boasts 297 wins for his career.
Last Time Out
The Harvard men's basketball team went 11-of-12 at the free throw line while outscoring Boston University 13-2 in overtime to pull away and earn a 79-68 victory two weeks ago at Case Gymnasium.
Wesley Saunders finished with a season-high 25 points, five assists and four steals to pace the Crimson, as Kyle Casey added his first double-double of the year with 19 points and 12 boards. Siyani Chambers, who played all 45 minutes, chipped in 16 points and four assists.
The Crimson shot 41.9 percent (26-62) against a 39.7 percent (25-63) clip for the Terriers, but went 21-of-27 at the line compared to a 12-of-20 performance by the hosts to take the win.
Ivy League Digital Network
For the first time ever, all of Harvard's home games and road Ivy League contests which are not being televised will be streamed in HD quality featuring a live scoreboard, new graphics package and play-by-play commentary through the Ivy League Digital Network. Subscribers to the network can watch games both live and On-Demand on their computers, tablets or smart phones, and will have access to live and On-Demand content for all Harvard events throughout the duration of their subscription.
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Rank and File
Harvard is currently listed as receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 after having also received votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll for the first four weeks of the season. The Crimson last appeared in either poll the week of Feb. 6, 2012 when the AP had the squad ranked No. 25 and the coaches had it at No. 21.
AP Top 25
Player of the Week
Wesley Saunders was named the Ivy League Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, moving him into a tie for sixth place in conference history with seven career honors. Saunders has matched the totals put up by Jeremy Lin '10, Dartmouth's Sea Lonergan and Cornell's Ryan Wittman, and needs just one more award to match Kyle Snowden '97 for the most by a member of the Crimson. The Ivy League record for career player of the week awards stands at nine and is held by Princeton's Ian Hummer and Brown's Earl Hunt.
Harvard defeated Denver, Green Bay and TCU en route to winning the 2013 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Wesley Saunders was named the tournament's most outstanding player after averaging 14.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 4.7 apg, and was joined on the all-tournament team by Siyani Chambers (10.3 ppg, 4.7 apg) and Steve Moundou-Missi (12.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
This marked the first tournament title for the Crimson since taking the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis in 2011, and was the first Great Alaska Shootout title for Tommy Amaker after having also coached in the tournament with Seton Hall (head coach, 1997) and Duke (assistant coach, 1995).
The Crimson held TCU to just 25.0 percent (14-56) shooting in the Great Alaska Shootout championship game, marking the lowest opponent field goal percentage in the Tommy Amaker era. The previous low stood at 27.9 percent (12-43) and was set earlier this season by MIT.
Evan Cummins recorded six blocks against TCU, setting a new Great Alaska Shootout championship game record. The previous mark of five had been held by Sheldon Williams (Duke, 2003) and Keith Owens (UCLA, 1990).
Laurent Rivard made five three-pointers against Green Bay to overtake Dan Clemente '01 as the Crimson's all-time record holder. Rivard's 230 career triples also rank 12th in Ivy League annals, while his 80 makes from long range in 2012-13 were the most ever by a member of the Crimson.
Hoop And The Harm
Senior Laurent Rivard, who ranks first in program history with 230 career three-pointers, has been fouled 24 times while shooting from beyond the arc. Seven of those fouls have resulted in an and-one.
Join the Club
Seniors Kyle Casey and Laurent Rivard each eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau against Green Bay, bringing Harvard's total number of 1,000 point scorers to 30. Casey currently ranks 25th in program history with 1,047 points while Rivard is 26th with 1,043.
Harvard recorded double-digit steals in four straight games from Nov. 12 - Nov. 24, matching the longest stretch of double-digit steal performances under head coach Tommy Amaker, and has come away with at least 10 steals in five contests this season.
Harvard picked up lopsided victories versus MIT (79-37) and Howard (76-44), marking the first time under head coach Tommy Amaker that the Crimson has won back-to-back games by 30-plus points. This also marked the first time since January of 2012 that Harvard had allowed fewer than 50 points in consecutive games.
Harvard's home-opening 79-37 win versus MIT was highlighted by the Crimson's play at the defensive end, which resulted in several noteable statistics;
• Harvard's 42-point margin of victory was the second largest under head coach Tommy Amaker, behind only a 94-51 triumph against Daniel Webster on Dec. 28, 2008.
• The Crimson allowed just 37 points to MIT, marking the third time under head coach Tommy Amaker that an opponent has scored fewer than 40 points (most recent at Yale, 65-35, 1/27/12).
• The Engineers shot just 27.9 percent from the field, which at the time stood as the lowest opponent field goal percentage in the Amaker era.
• Harvard forced 29 MIT turnovers, the most for the Crimson under head coach Tommy Amaker.
• Harvard's 19 steals versus the Engineers were one shy of the program record of 20, which has been accomplished four times (most recent vs. Hartford, 1/30/01).
2013-14 Dunk Tally
The Crimson is approaching several milestones this season;
• Laurent Rivard (101 app.), Kyle Casey (96 app.) and Brandyn Curry (92 app.) are each approaching or have already hit 100 career appearances.
• Kyle Casey needs one more blocks to become just the fifth member of the Crimson to record 100 career blocks.
• Laurent Rivard needs two three-pointers to move into the Ivy League's all-time top 10.
• Head coach Tommy Amaker needs three more wins to reach 300 for his career.
• The Crimson is one victory short of reaching 250 wins all-time at Lavietes Pavilion.
Cousy Award Watch List
Brandyn Curry and Siyani Chambers were among 50 student-athletes named to the watch list for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men's college basketball. The list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 in early February, then final five by early March. The Cousy Award winner will be presented the honor on Championship Monday in Dallas at the Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 Announcement and Press Conference.
Lou Henson Preseason All-America
Wesley Saunders was named to the 2013 Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team as one of the top 25 student-athletes from mid-major conferences. Following the season, the Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the top Mid-Major student-athlete in Division I college basketball. The award is named in honor of Lou Henson who retired after a spectacular coaching career that lasted 41 years.
This season, Harvard has teamed up with the 3PointFoundation to participate in the Coach4aDay program, helping to raise funds and awareness in the fight against illiteracy. The3PointFoundation teaches and mentors urban boys to prepare them for success in academics and life by concentrating on reading, writing, mathematics and character development for underserved youth who have demonstrated commitment, discipline and enthusiasm by playing in organized basketball programs.
For more information on the Coach4aDay program or to learn how you can get involved, click here.
Three Crimson had the honor of representing their country over the summer as a member of their respective national teams; Steve Moundou-Missi (Cameroon Senior National Team), Agunwa Okolie (Canadian Men's Junior National Team) and Laurent Rivard (Canadian Developmental National Team).
In The Spotlight
Twelve of Harvard's 30 games have been picked up for national or regional television broadcasts this season. The Crimson appeared on TV a program record 17 times last season, including a record four televised games at Lavietes Pavilion.
Harvard has played in front of a sold out Lavietes Pavilion 14 times over the past two years. The Crimson set a program record with 10 sell outs during the 2011-12 campaign, while four games in 2012-13 reached maximum capacity.
Home Court Advantage
The Harvard men's and women's basketball teams have combined for a 96-11 record at home in Lavietes Pavilion since 2009-10 while going 49-7 against the Ivy League. The Crimson men are 52-4 (.929) overall, 25-3 (.892) against the Ancient Eight, with the women going 44-7 (.863) overall, 24-4 (.857) in conference. The men's team's run of dominance includes a program record 28-game home win streak that lasted more than two calendar years between Feb. 19, 2010 and Feb. 24, 2012.
On The Sidelines
With 121 victories under his belt, Tommy Amaker ranks third all-time in Harvard coaching annals.
Frank Sullivan, 1991-07
Amaker's .644 win percentage, meanwhile, ranks first among Harvard coaches who have spent at least two seasons at the helm of the team.
Tommy Amaker, 2007-present
Under head coach Tommy Amaker, Harvard is 8-3 when going to overtime and has won each of its last seven games which have gone an extra session. This includes a 2-1 mark in double-overtime contests and a 1-0 record when needing three overtimes.
The game against Vermont will be part of a doubleheader, as the Crimson women's team will take to the court against Hofstra at 1 p.m. prior to the men's tip. Harvard also played a men's and women's doubleheader last year with the women facing BYU (W, 71-65) and the men hosting Manhattan (W, 79-45), marking the second straight year Lavietes Pavilion has hosted back-to-back games. Prior to 2011-12, the last time Harvard played a men's and women's doubleheader was January 5, 2008 when the women lost to Dartmouth, 52-4, before the men took down the Big Green, 82-56.