Harvard vs. Holy Cross
The No. 25/RV Harvard men’s basketball team will return to the parquet floor at TD Garden to face Holy Cross in the second annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader Sunday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. The entire tripleheader, which also features Boston University taking on Northeastern at 12:30 p.m. and Boston College facing UMass at 3 p.m., will be broadcast live on NESN.
Last Time Out
The No. 25/RV Harvard men’s basketball team tipped off its 2014-15 season Friday night with a 73-52 win over cross-town foe MIT at Lavietes Pavilion.
Harvard outscored MIT 52-30 over the game’s final 29:10 to cruise to the victory, the team’s sixth in eight season openers under head coach Tommy Amaker.
Wesley Saunders paced the Crimson at both ends of the floor, scoring a team-high 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting while also contributing nine rebounds, six assists and two steals. Siyani Chambers matched Saunders’ scoring output with 15 points of his own, all of which came in the first half. Chambers shot 5-of-7 from the floor, 4-of-4 from 3, and added four assists and two steals.
All nine Crimson who saw more than 10 minutes of action scored at least one basket as Harvard finished the night shooting 55.8 percent (24-43) from the field, 53.8 percent (7-13) from 3 and 81.8 percent (18-22) at the line.
• Harvard was ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, marking the first time Harvard has appeared in the AP’s preseason poll and the first time an Ivy League program has been included since the 1974-75 season.
• Harvard received 47 points in the USA TODAY Preseason Coaches Poll, ranking first among those schools listed in the “also receiving votes” category and coming in just nine points shy of a place in the top 25. This marked the first time since the 1993-94 season that an Ivy program has been at the head of the “also receiving votes” category in the preseason poll.
• Siyani Chambers has been named to the 2015 Bob Cousy Award Watch List, marking the third-straight year that the junior has been tabbed among the top point guards in college basketball. Chambers is one of just three individuals to have been included on the watch list in each of the last three years along with Duke’s Quinn Cook and Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos.
• Wesley Saunders has been named to the Lou Henson Preseason All-America team for the second year in a row and is among 40 student-athletes included on the award’s watch list. The Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the Division I “Mid-Major” Player of the Year.
• Harvard has posted a 50-3 (.943) record at Lavietes Pavilion since the start of the 2010-11 season, ranking the Crimson behind only Belmont (51-2, .962) and Duke (64-3, .955) for the third highest home-court win percentage in the country over the last four seasons.
• Harvard has won at least 20 games in each of the last five years, and a sixth consecutive 20-win campaign in 2014-15 would match Penn (1969-75) for the longest streak of 20-win seasons in Ivy League history.
• The Crimson has won four straight Ivy League championships and is looking to become the first Ancient Eight program to win five-straight titles since the Quakers did so between 1978 and 1982. The only other streak of at least five-consecutive titles in Ancient Eight history is Penn’s run of six straight from 1970-75.
• The Crimson has made three-straight NCAA tournament appearances and in 2014-15 will attempt to become the first Ivy League squad to reach the Big Dance in four-straight years since Princeton did so from 1989-92. Penn owns the conference record with six-straight NCAA tournament appearances from 1970-75.
• Harvard has won its NCAA tournament second round matchup each of the last two years, becoming the first Ivy League team to win a game in the tournament in consecutive years since Princeton did so in 1983 and 1984. Should the Crimson reach the ‘Big Dance’ again in 2015, it could match Penn (1971-73, 1978-80) and Princeton (1964-67) for most consecutive years with a victory in the NCAA tournament.
• Harvard advanced to the third round of the 2014 NCAA tournament with a 61-57 win over fifth-seeded Cincinnati. The victory was the Crimson’s second in as many years in the Big Dance, and marked the first time an Ivy League program has won at least one tournament game in back-to-back seasons since Princeton did so in 1983 and 1984.
• Harvard became the first program to win four-straight Ivy League championships since Penn did so from 1993-96, and became the first Ivy League program to reach 20 wins in five-straight seasons since Penn did so a record six times from 1970-75.
• Harvard set a new school record for most wins in a season with a 27-5 overall mark. The Crimson also set a program record for Ivy League victories by finishing the “14-Game Tournament” with a 13-1 mark, and completed the program’s first undefeated season on the road in Ancient Eight play.
• Wesley Saunders was named the Ivy League Player of the Year, becoming just the third member of the Crimson to earn the honor; Joe Carrabino ’84-85 (1984), Keith Wright ’12 (2011).
Harvard As A Ranked Team
The Crimson enters the season ranked No. 25 in the AP Top 25 and as the top vote getter in the “also receiving votes” category of the USA TODAY Coaches Poll. Harvard is 14-3 all-time as a ranked team and boasts a perfect 7-0 record at home.
For more information on Harvard as a ranked team, turn to page 10.
Cousy Award Watch List Finalist
Siyani Chambers was named as one of 23 watch list finalists 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.
Chambers was originally listed among 80 watch list candidates for the award, along with teammate Brandyn Curry ’13-14.
Lou Henson All-America
Wesley Saunders was named to the 2014 Lou Henson All-America team as one of the 30 best players from a mid-major conference.
Wesley Saunders was named to the United States Basketball Wristers Association All-District I Team and to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 13 first team, marking the second-straight year he has picked up both awards.
Siyani Chambers was also recognized by the NABC, earning second team honors after being picked to the first team a year ago.
Harvard received six total All-Ivy League selections in 2014, matching the 1994-95 Penn team for the most in Ivy League history; Wesley Saunders (POY, first team), Siyani Chambers (second team), Steve Moundou-Missi (second team), Laurent Rivard (second team), Kyle Casey (HM) and Brandyn Curry (HM).
Making a Stand
Harvard’s defense in 2013-14 shaped up to be one of the best ever under head coach Tommy Amaker. Opponents scored just 61.0 ppg, which ranked 14th in the NCAA and was the second best in the Amaker era, while shooting 40.8 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from beyond-the-arc, both the lowest totals under Amaker.
• The Crimson held Princeton, Cornell and Columbia to just 47 points in consecutive games, marking the first time since 2011-12 that Harvard had allowed less than 50 points in three-straight games.
• Harvard went 15-0 when holding opponents to fewer than 60 points, and 14-0 when opponents shoot under 40.0 percent.
• Harvard held TCU (25.0%, 14-56), Brown (27.3%, 15-55) and MIT (27.9%, 12-43) to under 30.0 percent shooting, the three lowest opponent shooting percentages under head coach Tommy Amaker.
• 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).
Margin of Victory
Under head coach Tommy Amaker, the Crimson has won 36 games by 20 or more points, 10 games by 30 or more points and two games by 40 or more.
• The 2013-14 Crimson set the standard for margin of victory, outscoring opponents by 12.2 ppg while winning nine games by 20 points, five games by 30 and one game by 40.
• Harvard’s scoring margin against the Ivy League last season was +15.4 ppg. The team won six Ivy League contests by at least 20 points and three games by at least 30.
• Harvard picked up lopsided victories versus MIT (79-37, Nov. 12) and Howard (76-44, Nov. 15), marking the first time under head coach Tommy Amaker that the Crimson had won back-to-back games by 30-plus points.
• Harvard’s 42-point margin of victory against MIT on Nov. 12 was the second largest under head coach Tommy Amaker, behind only a 94-51 triumph against Daniel Webster on Dec. 28, 2008.
Players of the Week
Wesley Saunders (Dec. 3, Dec. 9, Jan. 6), Siyani Chambers (Dec. 23, Dec. 30, Feb. 24) and Steve Moundou-Missi (March 10) combined to earn seven Ivy League Player of the Week awards last season, matching the program record for most awards in one year.
Saunders’ eight career player of the week honors rank third in league history, trailing only Princeton’s Ian Hummer and Brown’s Earl Hunt who own the all-time mark with nine. Saunders’ most recent accolade also tied him with Kyle Snowden ’97 for the most by a member of the Crimson.
Chambers’ three honors give him nine career weekly awards after having been named the conference’s rookie of the week six times in 2012-13.
Moundou-Missi’s player of the week award was the first of his career. He was also named rookie of the week once in 2011-12.
Moving on Up
Head coach Tommy Amaker continus to move up the ranks of the Ivy League’s winningest coaches. Amaker’s 140 wins at Harvard are the 10th most since the conference began competition in 1956, while his 67 Ivy League victories rank 14th.
Amaker has led Harvard to four-straight Ivy League championships, tying him with former Princeton head coach Butch van Breda Kolff and fomer Penn head coach Chuck Daly for the fourth most Ivy titles won.
Stuffing the Stat Sheet
Wesley Saunders, the 2014 Ivy League Player of the Year, finished the regular season ranked in the Ancient Eight’s top 10 in seven categories; scoring (8th, 14.0 ppg), assists (3rd, 3.9 apg), steals (1st, 1.7 spg), blocks (9th, 0.8 bpg), field goal percentage (10th, 46.6 pct.), assist-to-turnover ratio (4th, 1.7), minutes (4th, 33.7 min.).
Saunders has led the Crimson in points, rebounds and assists four times in his career, and in points, rebounds, assists and steals once.
Born to Assist
Siyani Chambers, who finished the 2013-14 regular season ranked second in the Ivy League in assists (4.7), dished out at least five assists 14 times a year ago and dropped eight dimes or more five times. The sophomore boasts 34 career games with five or more assists and has 10 games of eight or more assists, including four double-digit performances.
Join the Club
Wesley Saunders became the 32nd member of Harvard’s 1,000-point club last season and currently ranks 29th in program history with 1,027 points.
Head coach Tommy Amaker has coached seven 1,000-point scorers while at Harvard; Jeremy Lin ’10 (1,483), Laurent Rivard ’14 (1,270), Kyle Casey ’13-14 (1,242), Drew Housman ’09 (1,228), Keith Wright ’12 (1,178), Saunders (1,027), Christian Webster ’13 (1,016).
Home is Where the Wins Are
Harvard has posted a 50-3 (.943) record at Lavietes Pavilion since the start of the 2010-11 season, ranking the Crimson behind only Belmont (51-2, .962) and Duke (64-3, .955) for the third highest home-court win percentage in the country over the last four seasons.
Harvard has enjoyed two home win streaks of at least 20 games during this run; 28 games (Feb. 20, 2010 to Feb. 25, 2012), 20 games (Dec. 1, 2012 to Feb. 7, 2014).
Harvard was a unanimous pick to repeat as conference champions in 2014-15 and received all 17 first-place votes in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll. This marked the second straight year that Harvard has been the consensus pick in the League and the third time in four seasons that the Crimson has finished No. 1 in the poll. Harvard also earned the top spot in 2011-12 when it received 16-of-17 first-place votes.