Saunders turned in a double-double performance with 24 points and 12 rebounds (Steve Babineau).
BOSTON – The No. 25/RV Harvard men's basketball team was upended by Holy Cross Sunday afternoon, 58-57, in the final game of the second annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader at TD Garden.
Wesley Saunders registered a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead Harvard (1-1) while also contributing four steals, three assists and three blocks in 40 minutes of action. Jonah Travis added nine points and seven boards, shooting 4-of-6 from the field, as Steve Moundou-Missi and Corbin Miller chipped in eight points apiece.
The Crimson shot 44.7 percent (21-47) from the field for the game but committed 24 turnovers against the pressure defense of Holy Cross (1-0). Justin Burrell scored a team-high 16 points for the Crusaders with Malcolm Miller and Eric Green each adding 12.
Harvard will return to action at home Thursday night against Florida Atlantic at 8 p.m.
Holy Cross' full-court pressure bothered Harvard early as the Crimson were forced into 11 turnovers over the game's first 9:26. After falling behind 8-0 to begin the game, Harvard answered back with a 9-2 stretch to pull within 10-9. Saunders scored seven straight points during the run, including a step-back 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one. The Crusaders kept the pressure on and regained a 17-10 margin, but Saunders continued to provide the scoring for the Crimson to make it a 17-15 game.
Harvard took its first lead off a Miller 3-pointer, but it was short lived as Holy Cross scored six unanswered points for a 23-18 edge. A basket by Saunders in transition once again cut the deficit to one, 23-22, and on the ensuing possession an Andre Chatfield 3 put the Crimson back in front, 25-23. Travis added an and-one, and at the half Harvard held a 28-27 advantage.
Saunders finished the first half with 15 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Both Miller and Travis added five points apiece, with Travis also grabbing five boards.
Holy Cross opened the second half just as it had the first, scoring nine straight points for a 36-28 lead. Facing a 40-33 deficit, Travis scored a pair of baskets to cut it to 40-37, and an and-one for Saunders made it a one-point game, 41-40. Saunders found Miller alone in the corner on the next trip down the court for a spot-up 3, pushing the Crimson back in front, 43-41.
After a tip-in by Saunders moved the score to 48-43, Holy Cross answered back with five unanswered to even the game at 48-48. With the score still tied at 51, Moundou-Missi made a move along the baseline for a 53-51 edge before blocking a Miller shot attempt at the other end to start a fast break, which Moundou-Missi finished with a two-handed slam.
Holy Cross regained the lead with Burrell at the foul line, 56-55, and went in front 58-55 off a pair of Miller freebies. Another dunk from Moundou-Missi cut the deficit to just one, 58-57, but Saunders' fade-away before the buzzer came up just short.
Game Notes: Wesley Saunders led Harvard with 24 points, including 13 of the team's first 15, marking his 13th career game scoring 20 or more … Saunders also pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds for his second career double-double.