Pictured: Christian Webster hit his first seven shots, including six 3-pointers against Appalachian State in a career-high 24 point performance (David Mayo).
BOONE N.C. – Appalachian State withstood an early blitz from Harvard as the homestanding Mountaineers defeated the Harvard men’s basketball team, 93-71, in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) in Boone, N.C.
Appalachian State (23-12) simply outrebounded the smaller Harvard (21-8) team and raced out for points whenever it could in a fast-paced contest.
“(ASU) really dug in with defensive pressure after we blitzed them early,” said head coach Tommy Amaker. “Their frontline guys were just outstanding tonight versus our guys. I am proud of the year we were able to accomplish with 21 wins. I thought our kids gave great effort but we ran into a team tonight that played exceptionally well.”
Harvard hit on 6-of-8 shots from deep to start in building a 12-point lead midway through the opening half. However, the Mountaineers pushed the ball up-court on every Harvard miscue to score in transition and grabbed offensive rebounds on its rare missed to convert 12 second-chance points. It took its first lead late in the half as part of a 13-0 run to claim a 43-37 halftime lead.
In the second half, rebounding trouble continued to plague Harvard as the home team built a 51-40 lead coming out of the first media timeout. ASU pulled out to a 62-46 lead at the 11:30 mark and the Crimson could not get back into contention as ASU pulled away for its first postseason victory.
Donald Sims and Kellen Brand led ASU with 22 and 14 points, respectively. ASU battered Harvard on the boards, grabbing 39 compared to 25 for the Crimson and outscoring Harvard in the paint, 40-14. In all, ASU scored 20 second-chance points to just one for Harvard.
Harvard’s impressive freshman trio of Christian Webster, Kyle Casey and Brandy Curry led the way while senior guard Jeremy Lin also played well, scoring 11 points with seven rebounds and five assists in his final collegiate game. Lin leaves Harvard as the only player in Ivy League history to record 1,450 points (1,482), 450 rebounds (494), 400 assists (406) and 200 steals (225).
Webster was electric, scoring a game and career-high 24 points after hitting his first seven shots, six from deep, in a 7-of-8 display overall. Casey scored 10 early points and finished with 14 while Curry had eight points, three assists and three steals.
Harvard jumped off to an 8-0 start on six quick points from Casey and three Harvard steals before ASU had attempted a shot. ASU used a fast-paced style to quickly get back into the game but consecutive 3-pointers from Webster, including one as part of a four-point play, made it 22-12 Harvard and forced an ASU timeout at the 13-minute mark. Coming out of the timeout, Webster continued his streak, hitting two more from deep for four-straight as the Crimson maintained its double digit lead, 30-18 halfway through the session.
Harvard hit on 6-of-8 from deep to start while ASU was 4-of-5 itself. The Mountaineers also exerted itself on the offensive glass, and used its second looks to get right back into it, trailing only 32-26 after a Brand triple at 7:23. Harvard went through a 3:50 scoreless drought and ASU got within two before Curry struck from deep on a wide open look to make it 35-30 at 4:50 to play.
After a nifty layup from an inbounds play from Lin, ASU rattled off 13 straight, taking its first lead of the game, 39-37, on a fastbreak layup from Brand at the 1:20 mark.
After grabbing its 30-18 lead, Harvard scored just seven points during the last 10:24 of play including droughts of 3:50 and 4:17 while ASU ran full ahead and shot a blistering 55 percent from the floor including a 7-of-13 mark from deep.
ASU connected on 12-of-21 3-pointers for the game. For its part, Harvard hit 11-of-25 from long range.