Brandyn Curry handed out 14 of Harvard's 20 assists against Penn (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Brandyn Curry handed out a career-high 14 assists and added 13 points for a double-double, while Laurent Rivard shot 5-of-8 from long range and finished with 21 points, as the Harvard men's basketball team topped Penn, 79-64, Friday evening at Lavietes Pavilion. Harvard is now 13-0 at home this season and has won 16 straight at Lavietes dating back to last season.
The win improves Harvard's record to 22-5 overall, a new program best for victories in a season, and 11-2 in the Ancient Eight, tying the program's highest mark for Ivy wins in a season (11 in 1970-71). The victory also sets up what amounts to be a game for the Ivy League title against Princeton (23-5, 11-1 Ivy) at Lavietes Saturday evening at 7 p.m. A win for the Crimson would at least clinch a share of the conference crown for Harvard, the first in program history, while a victory for Princeton would clinch the outright title for the Tigers.
Christian Webster (14 points), Oliver McNally (12) and Keith Wright (10) also had the scoring touch for Harvard, who had five players reach double figures. Miles Cartwright tallied 16 points to lead Penn, who falls to 12-14 and 6-6.
Harvard made 11-of-23 (.478) chances from long range for the game, while shooting 26-of-43 from the field overall (.605). The Crimson was also impressive from the foul line, hitting all 16 attempts.
The Crimson jumped out to a 5-2 lead when McNally made a pass to Brandyn Curry at the right win for a 3-pointer. At the 16:15 mark, McNally stole a pass at center court and scored on a layup to put Harvard up by five, 9-4. Penn matched the Crimson with baskets on the next few possessions, but Wright gave the Crimson a 13-8 lead with 14 minutes to go in the frame, as he netted a layup from the left side.
Matt Brown added a trey to make it 16-11 in favor of the Crimson, and then Rivard drilled another triple, as the Crimson upped its advantage to 19-11. On Harvard's next possession, Rivard buried another 3-ponter, as the Crimson made three straight from beyond the arc to open up at 22-11 advantage at the 10:45 mark.
With 6:40 remaining in the half, Curry found McNally for another Harvard triple, as the Crimson extended its lead to 31-15. Harvard continued to have the touch from long range, as Rivard made another trey to make it 38-19 in favor of the Crimson. Rivard made his fourth 3-pointer at the half with just over two minutes remaining, as Harvard continued to control play, 41-22. With 12 ticks left in the stanza, Curry went to the foul line and made both as the Crimson went into the locker room up by 22, 47-25.
Harvard shot an impressive 17-of-26 from the floor (.654) in the first half, while going 7-of-12 from beyond the arc (.583). Curry also finished the frame with eight assists and seven points, while Rivard was the leading score at the half with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Penn started the second half with an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 16, 49-33, with 17:02 remaining. Moments later, Curry earned his 10th assist as he found McNally for another 3-pointer, making it a 54-36 lead for Harvard. Rivard made another triple on a fast break as the Crimson continued to keep Penn out of reach, 57-36. With 14:17 left, Curry handed out another assist on a trey, as he moved the ball to Webster for three point, 62-36.
Curry broke a career-best for assists by dishing the ball to McNally for a layup with 12:42 left in regulation, as Harvard led, 64-39. The Quakers enjoyed a 14-5 run over the next six minutes until Rivard made a jump shot to put Harvard back up by 17, 71-53. Curry added a layup for Harvard with 4:24 left, as the Crimson continued to hold a sizable advantage, 73-56.
The Quakers got back within 13 with 2:45 remaining, but Webster made both from the charity stripe to make it 75-60.