Harvard Pulls Away from Men's Basketball in New Year's Tilt
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Keith Wright earned his fifth double-double of the season, netting 15 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, as the Harvard men's basketball team proved to be too much for visiting MIT earning an 84-58 victory over the Engineers Friday afternoon at Lavietes Pavilion.
With the victory, the Crimson moves to 9-3 overall, as Harvard extends its home winning streak against non-conference opponents to a program-record 15 straight contests. With the loss, which snapped an eight-game winning streak, MIT slips to 9-2. Laurent Rivard bucketed 17 points to lead all Crimson scorers. Kyle Casey tallied 15, and had four dunks, while Oliver McNally and Christian Webster added 12 as five players reached double figures. Will Tashman paced the Engineers, who are ranked No. 19 in Division III, with 19 points.
The Crimson jumped out to a big lead early, outscoring the Engineers, 7-0, in the opening two minutes, as McNally buried a three and then hit a layup on a fast break. Harvard continued to attack the basket, as Wright followed with a conventional three-point play after grabbing an offensive board and going up with a layup before being fouled. The Crimson, though, got into foul trouble midway through the first stanza, allowing MIT to take an 11-10 lead with 13 minutes to go in the opening frame. The Crimson regained the lead on another layup in transition by McNally and then Laurent Rivard buried two free throws to put Harvard up three, 14-11.
Harvard upped its lead to 23-13 when McNally found Wright wide open under the basket for a layup. The Crimson maintained a 10-point lead for the majority of the remainder of the half, going up by 13 when Jeff Georgatos grabbed an offensive board off a missed three and tipped the ball into the basket with 5:10 remaining. Harvard led by as many as 19 in the frame, and headed into the locker room with a 44-26 advantage.
Wright finished the first half with a double-double, scoring 13 and pulling down 11 boards in the opening stanza. The Crimson struggled from long distance in the frame, going 1-of-8, but made 15-of-16 free throws (.938), led by Rivard who converted all five of his attempts.
In the second, Wright and Christian Webster made layups on Harvard's first two possessions, as the Crimson opened up a 20-point lead, 48-28. After McNally drained a three from the left corner, Harvard continued to pad its lead, going up by 27, 56-29, with 17:08 to play. A three-pointer from the left point by Rivard made it a 65-35 game in favor of the Crimson with 13:53 remaining. With less than eight minutes to go, Christian Webster buried a running jumper, giving Harvard a 34-point edge, 78-44.
For the game, the Crimson shot 53.6 percent from the field and 95 percent from the free throw line, making 19-of-20 shots from the charity stripe.
MIT will return to action in 2011 with a home game against Bridgewater State College on Monday, January 3 at 6:00 p.m. Harvard is back in action Wednesday, January 5, as the Crimson will visit Boston College for a 7:00 p.m. tilt. The Crimson has defeated the Eagles in each of the last two seasons.
Portions of release couresy of Harvard University Athletic Communications