Men's Basketball's Comeback Falls Short at Holy Cross, 50-49

Steeves contributed a career-high 12 rebounds and seven assists (Gil Talbot).

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Harvard men's basketball team cut a 10-point deficit to just one with under 10 seconds to play, but was unable to come away with a steal in the closing moments as Holy Cross held on for a 50-49 win Sunday afternoon at the Hart Center.

Patrick Steeves finished the day with six points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, and contributed two rebounds, three assists and one block during the team's comeback attempt. Evan Cummins, Corbin Miller and Tommy McCarthy each recorded eight points, with Zena Edosomwan chipping in six points and nine rebounds.

Harvard (2-4) shot just 37.3 percent (19-51) from the floor but limited Holy Cross (3-3) to a 30.2 percent clip (16-53) while outrebounding the Crusaders, 40-35. The difference came at the line, where Holy Cross was 13-of-18 against a 3-of-8 performance by the Crimson. The Crusaders were paced by Malachi Alexander who turned in 17 points and five boards.

The Crimson will return to the floor Wednesday, Dec. 2 when it visits Northeastern for a 7 p.m. tilt.

Holy Cross scored on each of its first four possessions to sprint out to a 9-0 lead, but Harvard's defense tightened up from there, allowing just 11 points over the half's final 17:20 to take a 23-21 advantage into the break. A 3-pointer from Miller put the Crimson on the board initially, and Steeves followed suit to make it 9-6. Baskets by Weisner Perez and Cummins cut the deficit to two, 12-10.

The Crusaders regained a 20-13 advantage before triples from Miller and Corey Johnson moved the score to 21-19. Chris Egi's dunk tied the game at 21, and Steeves hit Cummins rolling to the basket to give Harvard its first lead, 23-21.

Cummins and Miller each scored six points to lead Harvard at the break, with Steeves contributing three points, five rebounds and two assists.

Holy Cross opened the second half with an 8-1 run to go back in front, 29-24. An two-handed slam by Edosomwan ended the drought, and a dunk by Cummins off another Steeves' feed regained the lead, 30-29. The teams traded the lead five more times over the next 2:38, with a pair of Alexander free throws giving the Crusaders a 36-35 edge which they eventually pushed to 45-35.

Edosomwan began the comeback with 5:17 to play and following a Tommy McCarthy 3 the deficit was down to 45-40. Steeves found McCarthy in transition on the ensuing possession to make it a 45-42 game, and Johnson countered a Holy Cross trey to keep the margin at 48-45 with 2:01 remaining.

Anthony Thompson hit a pair of free throws with 34.6 seconds on the clock to move the score to 50-46, but a desperation 3-pointer from McCarthy gave the Crimson a chance with less than 10 seconds to play. Holy Cross was able to inbound the ball and beat the press, however, sealing the 50-49 victory.

Game Notes: Harvard has held all six of its opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting, the longest streak under Tommy Amaker, The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball … Patrick Steeves set career-highs with 12 rebounds and seven assists in 26 minutes of action … Corbin Miller's 3-pointer with 15:08 to play in the first half was the 100th of his career … Corbin Miller has made at least one three pointer in nine straight games dating back to last season … Corey Johnson has made at least one 3-pointer in all six games to begin his career … Harvard has made at least five 3-pionters in each game this season.