Harvard Men's Basketball, Arizona to Meet Saturday with Sweet 16 Berth At Stake
Siyani Chambers tied Harvard's NCAA tournament record with seven assists in the 68-62 win over New Mexico Thursday (photo Gil Talbot).
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The Harvard men's basketball team pulled off the biggest upset of the Thursday second-round games with a 68-62 win over No. 3 seed New Mexico. It was the Crimson's first ever NCAA tournament win and has the team taking on No. 6 seed Arizona Saturday at 6:10 ET.
The Crimson, which earned the Ivy League's automatic berth with an 11-3 conference mark, carries a 20-9 overall record into the third round. The Wildcats are 26-7 after an 81-64 second-round win over Belmont.
The game will be shown live nationally on TNT at 6:10 ET. Spero Dedes and Doug Gottlieb will have the call. Jamie Maggio will be the sideline reporter. The game will also be available on the radio and on NCAA.com on Westwood One.
Charlie Hobbs, Brecka Fetzer and Ben Zauzmer will be the audio announcers on WRHB 95.3 FM-Cambridge. Live statistics will also be available.
Series History Against Arizona
The Crimson is 0-2 against Arizona.
12/23/66 at Arizona 59, Harvard 58
12/17/77 at Arizona 83, Harvard 60
Harvard vs. The Pac-12 This Season
The Crimson is 1-0 against the Pac-12 this season. Harvard won 67-62 at Cal on Dec. 29.
California is the only opponent that each team has played against. The Crimson beat the Bears, while Arizona lost, 77-69, Feb. 10 at home.
Harvard's Last Time Out
The No. 14 seed Harvard Crimson led almost the entire game and held off a late New Mexico rally attempt to top the No. 3 Lobos, 68-62, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at EnergySolutions Arena Thursday night. Wesley Saunders poured in 18 points to reach double figures for the 29th consecutive game to pace the Crimson, while Laurent Rivard connected on five three-pointers to establish a new single-season record for threes (79) and finish with 17 points. Senior co-captain Christian Webster had 11 points.
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Arizona's Last Time Out
The Wildcats advanced with an 87-64 win over Belmont. Arizona (26-7) held a 44-18 edge on the boards, outscored Belmont 36-18 in the paint, blocked five shots and outshot the Bruins from 3-point range. Arizona made 9-of-17 3-pointers, including a critical one from Solomon Hill with 4:40 remaining to stop an 11-2 Belmont run, and shot 57 percent overall.
Harvard In The NCAA Tournament
Harvard's second-round win was the first postseason victory in program history. The Crimson is 1-3 all-time in the NCAA tournament, having played in 2012 and 1946. Harvard fell to Ohio State, 46-38, and NYU, 67-61, in the 1946 tournament and lost to Vanderbilt, 79-70, last season, before winning its first game this year.
Harvard vs. NCAA Tournament Field
The Crimson owns a 1-2 record against teams in this year's NCAA tournament, as Harvard defeated California, a 12 seed, but fell to No. 6 seed Memphis and 11th-seeded St. Mary's. Each of Harvard's three NCAA-qualifying opponents have won a tournament game this season.
Ivy League In NCAA Tournament
In NCAA tournament history, Ivy League teams have combined for a 41-79 (.342) record in 69 appearances since 1939. Since 1957, the Ivy League has a 32-59 (.352) record in 55 appearances.
Sweet 16 Ivy
Harvard's win marked the first NCAA Tournament win for an Ivy League school since Cornell's Sweet 16 run in 2010. As a No. 12 seed in the East Region, 12th-seeded Cornell beat fifth-seeded Temple (78-65) in the first round and fourth-seeded Wisconsin (87-69) in the second round in Jacksonville, Fla. The Big Red then lost to No. 1 seed Kentucky (62-45) in the East Regional semifinals in Syracuse, N.Y.
First for 14
Harvard's win marks the first for an Ivy League school as a No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament. League teams have previously captured wins in the Big Dance as Nos. 5, 9, 11, 12 and 13 seeds.
Harvard In Last Year's NCAA Tournament
Laurent Rivard made six 3-pointers and scored 20 points, while Kyle Casey tallied 13 points and Brandyn Curry had 12 points, but the 12th-seeded Crimson fell to No. 5 Vanderbilt, 79-70.
Tommy Amaker In NCAA Tournament
Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker is 3-2 in the NCAA tournament, including this year's win over New Mexico with Harvard. Amaker's previous appearance came in 2000 with Seton Hall. Amaker guided the Pirates to wins over Oregon and Temple before falling to Oklahoma State in the Sweet 16.
Ivy League Historically in NCAA Tournament Brown was the first Ivy League team to appear in the NCAA Tournament, losing 42-30 to Villanova in a first-round game of the 1939 NCAA tournament.
In 2010, Cornell, a No. 12 seed, advanced to the Sweet 16 after earning wins over fifth-seeded Temple and fourth-seeded Wisconsin in the first two rounds. The victories were the first for the League since Princeton, as a No. 5 seed, defeated 12th-seeded UNLV in the first round of the 1998 NCAA tournament. It also marked the first time an Ivy team advanced to the regional semifinals since Penn's magical run to the 1979 Final Four.
For the fourth straight year, and fifth time overall, Harvard earned a postseason tournament bid this season. In 1946, the Crimson qualified for the NCAA tournament and returned to the postseason in 2010, playing in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. During the 2011 season, Harvard earned a bid to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) for the first time in program history, before earning an NCAA tournament berth last season.
The Crimson is 1-6 all-time in the postseason, falling to NYU and Ohio State during the NCAA tournament in 1946, losing at Appalachian State in the CIT in 2010 and dropping the Ivy League playoff to Princeton and falling at Oklahoma State in the NIT in 2011. During the 2012 NCAA tournament, Harvard lost to Vanderbilt in the second round.
Harvard's win over No. 10 New Mexico was the first for the Crimson against a top-10 opponent. The Lobos came into Thursday ranked No. 10 in the coaches poll.
D and the Three
Laurent Rivard not only poured in 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from outside, he also had the task of guarding New Mexico big man Cameron Bairstow. The 6-5, 215-point Rivard gave up four inches and 35 pounds to Bairstow, but held the forward to 4-of-10 shooting, as Bairstow committed four costly turnovers.
Freshman Siyani Chambers was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, while also taking home first-team all-conference honors. Chambers became the first freshman in conference history to be named to the All-Ivy first team. Sophomore Wesley Saunders was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy first team, and junior Laurent Rivard and sophomore Steve Moundou-Missi garnered All-Ivy League honorable mention.
Ivy Champion Harvard Crimson
For the third straight year and for the third time in school history, Harvard earned the Ivy League title, as the Crimson topped Cornell in Cambridge, 65-56, March 9. Harvard also tied the program record by going 7-0 at home in conference play.
Senior Christian Webster now has 1,008 points for his career and is second in team history with 116 games played and fifth with 174 career 3-pointers. Webster is also the winningest player in team history with 90 victories in his four years.
Representing New England
Harvard is the lone Division I representative in the NCAA basketball tournament.
14 Seeds vs. 3 Seeds
Since 1986 (and before this year's bracket), sixteen 14 seeds have defeated No. 3 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Most recently, Ohio topped Georgetown, 97-83, in 2010.
Current senior Christian Webster has helped Harvard win 90 games throughout his career (90-29, .756), a program record. Last year's senior class of Oliver McNally '12, Andrew Van Nest '12 and Keith Wright '12 held the previous mark, winning 84 games (84-34, .712) during their careers.
In Harvard's 73-54 win over Penn Feb. 15, Kenyatta Smith set a Harvard program record with 10 blocked shots. The Crimson rejected 15 shots as a team, also a new program record.
Smith paces the Crimson with 2.2 blocks per contest, and Harvard leads the Ivy League with 4.4 blocks per game as a team. Smith has 58 rejections this season, the second most in a year in team history. Brian Banks '78 swatted away a program record 59 shots in the 1977-78 campaign.
Wesley Saunders has scored in double figures in each of Harvard's 29 games this season. He tallied a career-high 27 points at Coumbia Feb. 10 and paces the Crimson and the Ivy League with 16.5 points per game.
Saunders is the first Harvard player to reach double digits in scoring in at least 10 consecutive games since Keith Wright '12 tallied 10 or more points in 19 straight contests between Jan. 22, 2011-Nov. 24, 2011.
Laurent Rivard has taken 210 field-goal attempts this season (86-of-210, .410), with 193 of them being 3-point attempts (79-of-193, .409). More than 90 percent (.919) of Rivard's shot attempts have been beyond the arc. Rivard has also taken 41.8 percent (193) of Harvard's 462 3-point attempts this season.
Chambers Earning Accolades
Freshman Siyani Chambers, the Ivy Rookie of the Year, was named a nominee for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's top men's college basketball point guard each season. Chambers has been named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week six times this season (Dec. 3, Dec. 17, Jan. 7, Jan. 14, Jan. 28, March 11). The Ivy League record for most rookie awards in a season for an individual is eight, held by Penn's Michael Jordan in 1996-97 and Cornell's Adam Gore in 2005-06.
Chambers ranks second on the Crimson with 12.9 points per contest and paces the Ivy League with 5.7 assists per game.
Behind the Line History
Laurent Rivard has buried 79 3-pointers this year to break the Crimson's program record for threes in a single season. Kevin Rogus '05 connected on 74 triples during the 2003-04 campaign to own the previous record.
If Rivard makes 14 more 3-pointers, he will also tie the program record for career treys, held by Dan Clemente '01 (220). Rivard currently has 206 career triples, ranking him second in program history.
The Crimson was tied for sixth in the nation in team 3-point shooting percentage (.401) and tied for 11th in team field-goal shooting percentage (.482) before Thursday's game. Harvard shot a season-best 62.8 percent from the floor as a team in the 75-65 victory at Dartmouth Jan. 12.
Finalist for Ben Jobe Award
Bob Cousy Award Nominee
Ivy League Rookie of the Year
All-Ivy League First Team
NBC Sports All-Ivy League Team
Ivy League Rookie of the Week (Dec. 3, Dec. 17, Jan. 7, Jan. 14, Jan. 28, March 11)
All-Ivy League Honorable Mention
USBWA All-District I Team
All-Ivy League First Team
NBC Sports All-Ivy League Team
Ivy League Player of the Week (Dec. 3, Dec. 10, Jan. 14. Feb. 4, Feb. 25)
All-Ivy League Honorable Mention
Ivy League Player of the Week (Feb. 18)
Ivy League Player of the Week (Jan. 28)
Harvard has had six double-doubles this season. Siyani Chambers has three (Jan. 5, Feb. 2 and Feb. 8), while Wesley Saunders (Feb. 1), Kenyatta Smith (Feb. 15) and Jonah Travis (Dec. 1) have recorded one double-double apiece.
With his 27-point performance at Columbia Feb. 20, Wesley Saunders scored the most points by a Harvard player since Christian Webster tallied 29 in a 75-69 win at Mercer Nov. 20, 2010.