Men's Basketball Survives at Brown in Overtime, 76-74, Behind Saunders' 33-Point Night

The Crimson earned its 11th straight win on the road in Ivy play (Gil Talbot).

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – For the second straight year Harvard and Brown went to overtime in Providence and just as it did last season the Crimson came out on top, downing the Bears 76-74 Friday night.

It took a Wesley Saunders buzzer beater to get into the extra session but Harvard took control from there, going on top by as many as five points on a pair of Corbin Miller free throws with just 24 seconds to play, 75-70, before hanging on for the win.

Saunders had a monster night for Harvard, scoring 33 points to go with 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Saunders' career-high 33 points were the most by a member of the Crimson since Jeremy Lin '10 scored 30 at UConn on Dec. 6, 2009, and represent the 14th highest single-game total in program history. Saunders' 10 rebounds, meanwhile, gave him his fourth double-double of the year.

Agunwa Okolie contributed 11 points and eight rebounds, with Jonah Travis chipping in 11 points, five offensive boards, two assists and two blocks. Harvard controlled the boards with a 42-31 advantage on the glass, and scored 18 second chance points off 20 offensive rebounds.

The victory improved Harvard to 14-5 overall and 4-1 in the Ivy League, setting up a matchup tomorrow night at Yale (16-6, 5-0 Ivy League) with first place on the line. Tip off from Lee Ampitheater is scheduled for 7 p.m. live on the Ivy League Digital Network.

The win also kept a pair of streaks alive for the Crimson, which has now won 11 straight games on the road in Ivy play and has won 11 straight versus the Bears (9-13, 0-5 Ivy League).

Saunders scored the game's first five points and after a Siyani Chambers jumper Harvard led 8-2. Brown cut its deficit to 10-8 at the free throw line, but Saunders responded for the Crimson with a baseline drive. Zena Edosomwan extended the margin back out to 18-10 with a two-handed slam, and a second dunk by the sophomore put the score at 20-15.

Saunders followed a Miller 3-pointer with a floater in the lane as part of a 12-2 stretch to push the lead to double-digits, 32-19. The Bears closed the half on an 11-4 run, however, to pull within 36-30 at the break.

Brown capitalized on a slow start for Harvard in the second half, taking its first lead of the night thanks to nine unanswered points, 39-36. Saunders put the Crimson back on the scoreboard before assisting on an Okolie layin, and Steve Moundou-Missi made a nifty move in the paint to even the score at 43.

Saunders beat the shot clock with his second 3-pointer to finally regain the lead, 51-49, and Travis made three trips to the free throw line to move the score to 55-51. Brown retied the game on a Dockery Walker free throw, 55-55, and went back in front with Steven Spieth at the line, 59-57.

Saunders got into the lane to pull Harvard back even, and then hit two at the line after an Evan Cummins steal to make it a 61-59 game.  Brown got the better of the Crimson at the charity stripe down the stretch, going back on top 64-62, but Harvard was able to survive and force overtime as Saunders put back his own miss just before the buzzer.

Game Notes: Harvard has won a program record 11 consecutive Ivy League games on the road … Harvard has won 11 consecutive games against Brown, matching the longest win streak versus an Ivy opponent in program history … Wesley Saunders finished the evening with a career-high 33 points, becoming the first member of the Crimson to score at least 30 points since Jeremy Lin '10 scored 30 at UConn on Dec. 6, 2009 … Wesley Saunders' 33 points represent the 14th highest single-game total in program history … Wesley Saunders has scored at least 20 points five times this season, 17 times in his career … Wesley Saunders also grabbed 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year, fifth of his career … Wesley Saunders collected three steals, moving him into a tie with Tarik Campbell '94 for fourth place in Harvard history (161) … Corbin Miller has made at least one 3-pointer in each of Harvard's 19 games this season …  Harvard improved to 12-5 in overtime games under head coach Tommy Amaker, 2-1 this season.