Five Crimson scored in double-figures in season-opening win at TD Garden (Steve Babineau).
BOSTON, Mass. – Jonah Travis provided a double-double from off the bench and Wesley Saunders poured in 18 points as the Harvard men's basketball team defeated Holy Cross, 82-72, Sunday evening in the nightcap of the Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader at TD Garden.
Travis scored a career-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds for the third double-double of his career. The junior, who was a perfect 6-of-6 from the line, scored 12 points in the first half, giving the Crimson a spark which helped the team overcome an unsteady start.
Harvard dominated the paint, outrebounding Holy Cross by a 44-27 margin and outscoring the Crusaders 40-28 in the paint. The Crimson finished the evening shooting 46.0 percent (29-63) from the field, 35.3 percent (6-17) from three and 85.7 percent (18-21) at the line.
Dave Dudzinski, the only Crusader to reach double-digits, led all scorers with 25 points, including 20 in the first half.
Kyle Casey opened the game with a two-handed dunk and was followed by a Curry basket to make it a 5-4 game. Holy Cross moved out to a 12-6 advantage at the first timeout, thanks to a 5-of-7 shooting performance and nine early points from Dudzinski. The Crimson pulled to within 14-10 off a pair of Travis free throws, and cut it to a one-point game with a reverse layup from Travis on the baseline, 17-16.
Harvard evened the score at 23 as Travis went to the hoop once more for a contested layup. A Casey bucket on the team's next possession regained the lead, 25-23, before back-to-back Rivard three's made it a 33-26 game. Harvard took its largest lead of the half as Travis added four more points, 37-28, capping off a 21-7 stretch that saw the Crimson turn a five-point deficit into a nine-point lead.
Holy Cross closed to within three with under 2:00 to play, 39-36, but a Curry triple before time expired pushed Harvard's margin back to 45-39.
Travis and Saunders each scored 12 points to lead the Crimson at the half, with Travis shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from both the field and the line. Travis also pulled down a team-high four rebounds, helping Harvard to a 21-11 edge on the glass.
Points were hard to come by in the second as both teams adjusted to the opposition at the defensive end. The Crimson finally began to create separation with a 6-0 stretch for a 53-43 margin, but Holy Cross responded with a 15-5 run to tie the score at 58 with 6:36 to play.
Curry ended Harvard's drought with a drive down the left side of the lane before Malachi Alexander earned the hoop and the harm for the Crusaders' first lead since 8:25 remained in the first half, 61-60. Chambers took matters into his own hands from then on, scoring seven straight points in 80 seconds time to push Harvard back on top, 67-61. The sophomore added a nice feed to Travis for good measure, making it a 69-61 edge for the Crimson with 3:43 remaining.
Holy Cross kept the game close down the stretch, pulling within four on a Justin Burrell and-one. A putback from Steve Moundou-Missi and a breakaway layup from Saunders all but put the game away, as Harvard walked away with the 82-72 victory.
Game Notes: Jonah Travis scored a career-high 20 points, marking the first time he has reached double-figures since scoring 16 vs. Dartmouth on Jan. 26, 2013 … Travis also added 10 rebounds for his third career double-double … Five Crimson scored in double-digits; Travis (20), Wesley Saunders (18), Brandyn Curry (14), Siyani Chambers (11) and Laurent Rivard (11) … The Crimson improved to 5-2 in season openers under head coach Tommy Amaker … Dating back to last season, Harvard is 17-1 when leading at the half and is 54-8 since 2010-11 … Sunday's game was part of the inaugural Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader featuring six of the seven NCAA Div. I men's basketball teams in Massachusetts.