Comeback Attempt Falls Short for Men's Basketball at UConn, 61-56

Chambers scored a game-high 21 points, including 11 in the second half (Jessica Hill).

STORRS, Conn. – The Harvard men's basketball team made big play after big play to give itself a chance to tie the game, but ultimately the comeback attempt came up short in a 61-56 loss Wednesday night at Connecticut.

Laurent Rivard scored seven points in the final 34 seconds and Siyani Chambers went coast-to-coast to make it a 59-56 game with 10.1 seconds to go. A traveling violation against UConn gave the ball back to Harvard with 9.6 seconds, but a steal by DeAndre Daniels allowed the Huskies to hold on for the win.

Harvard, which led by as many as seven points in the first half, had its nine-game win streak snapped with the loss as it drops to 13-2 on the year. UConn, meanwhile, improves to 12-3.

Chambers finished with a game-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and went 5-of-7 from beyond-the-arc to help keep the Crimson in the game. Rivard totaled 13 points, four assists and four steals, and made three shots from long-range. Kyle Casey narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds, with Brandyn Curry chipping in seven points and six assists.

The Huskies were led by the backcourt duo of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, who posted 18 points and 14 points, respectively. UConn outshot Harvard 40.0 percent (18-45) to 35.7 percent (20-56) for the game, and knocked down 17-of-25 at the line.

Steve Moundou-Missi drove down the lane for a two-handed dunk to open the game, but UConn answered quickly to go ahead by six, 10-4. Curry ended the run with a corner three, and after a drive by Casey the score stood at 10-9. Chambers hit an NBA-range three-pointer to beat the shot clock and move Harvard back in front, 12-10, and Casey made it 10 straight points for the Crimson to force a Husky timeout, 14-10.

Moundou-Missi gave the Crimson a six-point lead at 16-10 before a pair of Lasan Kromah layups halted UConn's drought. Tyler Olander put the Huskies back in the lead with an and-one, 17-16, but a tough layup by Casey after Curry came away with a loose ball gave the edge right back to Harvard, 18-17. Back-to-back three's by Chambers and Rivard extended the margin to 24-17, and yet another contested layup by Casey moved the score to 26-20.

UConn pulled within three points off a Daniels triple, 29-26, but Chambers came up with another big shot, floating the ball over a defender to give the Crimson a 31-26 halftime lead. Chambers led all scorers at the break with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting, while Casey added eight points and three rebounds.

The Huskies opened the second half on a 5-0 run to tie the game at 31. Chambers stepped up for Harvard, however, knocking down his third three to regain the 34-31 edge. With UConn in front 37-34, Chambers once again responded for the Crimson, adding his fourth triple for a 37-all tie.

UConn went back up, 48-39, as Harvard struggled through a 9:07 stretch in which it shot 1-of-13 from the field.  Curry ended that drought with a pair at the line, and a putback by the senior made it a 48-43 game. With the score at 49-44, Chambers stepped into another three-pointer, but he was answered at the other end by back-to-back triples from Shabazz Napier for a 55-47 margin.

Rivard cut into the deficit as he was fouled shooting a three, and completed the four-point play to push the score to 55-51. An and-one by Rivard with 16.1 seconds to play made it a one-possession game, 57-54, and after Chambers raced the length of the floor following a pair of Husky free throws the score stood at 59-56.

Game Notes: The loss snaps a nine-game winning streak for Harvard, it's longest under head coach Tommy Amaker … Harvard's 13-2 record matches the program's best record through 15 games under head coach Tommy Amaker … Siyani Chambers scored a game-high 21 points, his second 20-point game of the year and sixth of his career … Laurent Rivard hit three three-pointers to move into a tie for eighth place in Ivy League history (237) ... Harvard's nine three-pointers matches a season-high set at Fordham.