CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Laurent Rivard scored 13 points and made three treys, and Oliver McNally added 12 points and eight rebounds, as the Harvard men's basketball team rallied from a 12-point deficit to pick up a 59-50 win over Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at Lavietes Pavilion. The Crimson trailed, 40-28, with 15:36 to play in the second half and outscored the Big Green 31-10 for the remainder of the half, including a 23-2 run in the frame.
The win ties Harvard's program record with 11 consecutive victories at home, and the Crimson improves to 2-0 in Ivy League play and 13-3 overall. Harvard, which has won six straight games, is also now 8-0 at home on the year. Brandyn Curry contributed 12 points and four assists, while Keith Wright scored 12 and came down with seven rebounds. Matt Brown played well off the bench and finished with five points and three steals. The Big Green slides to 4-12 and 0-2 in conference action. R.J. Griffin paced the Big Green with a 20-point effort. Harvard has now defeated Dartmouth four straight times.
Harvard jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the game, as Rivard buried a long three in front of the Dartmouth bench and then Wright received a pass from Curry and laid it home. The Crimson upped its lead to 9-2 moments later when Kyle Casey scored on a layup of his own with another assist by Curry. With Harvard holding a 9-6 advantage, Curry nailed a wide open trey to double the Crimson's lead with 13:29 to play in the first half. The Crimson utilized the long ball early on in the stanza, as Rivard hit his second three-pointer with just under 12 minutes to go.
Following Harvard's 15-8 lead, the Big Green went on a 17-4 run to claim a 25-19 advantage with 6:01 remaining in the first half. Rivard ended the Big Green run by making two free throws, cutting Harvard's deficit to four. On Harvard's next possession, Wright beat two defenders for a layup, making it 25-23 in favor of Dartmouth. The Big Green made 50 percent of its treys in the first half (4-of-8) and carried a 32-26 lead over the Crimson heading into halftime. Rivard and Wright each had eight points at the midway point to pace Harvard, which shot 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) from the floor in the first half.
The Crimson netted the first basket in the second half when Wright made a jump hook in the center of the paint, pulling Harvard within four. Dartmouth, though, responded with an 8-0 run to grab a 12-point advantage, 40-28. With 12:29 remaining in regulation, McNally drew contact on a jumper and made both ensuing free throws, getting Harvard back within eight, 40-32. The Crimson stepped up defensively midway through the second half, forcing Dartmouth to two shot clock violations. With 11:22 to go, Rivard hit a wide open three from the right corner, pulling Harvard within five points, 40-35.
On Harvard's next possession, Brown buried a three of his own from the left wing, capping a 10-0 run for the Crimson and reducing the team's deficit to two points, 40-38. Curry made two key free throws with 7:57 to play, as Harvard remained within two points, 42-40. After making a steal, Curry was fouled again and hit both shots to tie the game, 42-42. With just under six minutes to go, Wright got open to the left of the basket and made a strong two-handed dunk to give Harvard its first lead, 44-42, since 9:41 to play in the first half. McNally padded Harvard's lead to 46-42 as he connected on two more free throws. A layup by Curry gave Harvard a 48-42 advantage and then a trey by McNally put the Crimson up 51-42, as Harvard went on a 23-2 run since trailing 40-28.
In the final minute of play with Harvard holding a 56-50 lead, Kyle Casey made his second of two chances from the free-throw line, making it a three-possession game. The Crimson buried 19-of-23 shots from the charity stripe for the game (.826), was 6-of-18 from long distance (.333) and hit 17-of-38 shots overall in the game (.447). McNally was 9-of-10 from the foul line in the game. Dartmouth held a strong advantage on the boards, 34-26, and led 15-4 in offensive rebounds.
Up next, Harvard hosts Ivy League rivals Columbia and Cornell at Lavietes Pavilion Jan. 28-29.