Keith Wright earned his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 16 and adding 12 rebounds (Eric Bronson).
HANOVER, N.H. – The Harvard men's basketball team opened up an 11-point lead at halftime and never looked back, as the Crimson opened Ivy League play with a 68-53 victory at Dartmouth Saturday afternoon. The win moves Harvard to 11-3 overall and 1-0 in the Ancient Eight, while the Big Green slip to 4-10 and 0-1.
Keith Wright paced the Crimson in scoring with 16 points and came down with 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year and was one of four Harvard players to reach double figures. Kyle Casey tallied 13 points and collected nine boards, while Oliver McNally added 12 and Christian Webster scored 11. Brandyn Curry also dished out eight assists for Harvard, which has now taken three straight from Dartmouth. David Ruffel led the Big Green with 16 points.
The Big Green opened up a 6-4 lead over the Crimson early on, but Curry tied it when he drove the lane after accepting a pass from McNally and finished with a left-handed layup at the 16:05 mark. In a low scoring start to the first half, Wright and Curry made layups to give Harvard a four-point edge, 12-8, heading into the second media timeout at 11:15. The Crimson continued to shoot well from inside the paint, going up by seven points moments later when Wright converted a conventional three-point play after getting fouled.
A wide-open layup from under the basket by Casey with 6:49 remaining in the half, made it an 18-9 game in favor of the Crimson. Moments later, McNally stole the ball at center court and fired a pass toward the Harvard basket, finding Curry for a layup on the break, as Harvard capped a16-3 run. Webster buried Harvard's first three-pointer of the half, as he fired from the right side, giving Harvard a 10-point advantage, 25-15.
With the clock winding down in the first half, Laurent Rivard took a pass from McNally and drilled a long trey from just to the right of the top of the key, giving Harvard a 32-21 lead heading into the break. Harvard shot 48.1 percent from the floor in the half, and only had two offensive rebounds, but the Crimson made five steals, blocked four shots and controlled much of the play in the stanza.
Harvard started the second, just like it did in the first, by being aggressive in the paint. Wright made a jumper after posting up and then found Casey for a wide-open dunk through the lane on Harvard's next possession, making it 36-26 in favor of the Crimson. Harvard also found its touch on jump shots, as McNally hit a three from the corner and then Webster made a long jumper, as the Crimson led, 41-30, at the first media break of the second half. Webster drilled two more jumpers to give Harvard its largest lead, 47-30, with just under 14 minutes to play.
After Dartmouth made a run and got within nine, 49-40, Rivard hit a long three-pointer and followed with a steal and layup on the break, putting Harvard back up 14 with 8:28 to play. With Harvard leading by 13 with 4:16 to go, McNally made a trey with the shot clock winding down, making it 63-47. Casey put an exclamation point on the afternoon, as he leapt for a two-handed slam before being fouled with 2:01 remaining on the clock.
Harvard outrebounded Dartmouth, 32-22, for the game and was 26-of-49 from the floor (.531), while making 5-of-15 three-pointers (.333).
The Crimson, winners of four straight, visits George Washington for its final non-conference game of the season Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m.