The Harvard men's basketball team will look to make history this weekend as it travels to Houston to face Rice Saturday, Jan. 4. Tip off is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST live on CBS Sports Network.
The Crimson will be looking to improve to 13-1 on the year while capturing its ninth straight win, both of which would mark program records under head coach Tommy Amaker. Rice, meanwhile, has lost two straight games and will be trying to snap a two-game skid against Harvard.
• At 12-1, Harvard has matched the program's best start to a season under head coach Tommy Amaker. The Crimson also began 12-1 in 2011-12 en route to a 26-5 record, a second straight Ivy League title and the program's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1946. Harvard has now begun 12-1 or better just three times in program history; 2011-12 (12-1), 1945-46 (19-1).
• At 12-1, Harvard remains as one of just 18 teams in the country with one loss or fewer (as of Jan. 2).
• Harvard has won eight straight games overall, marking the team's longest win streak since taking nine in-a-row between Jan. 7 and Feb. 10, 2012. The Crimson enjoyed a program record 13-game win streak in 1945-46 en route to a 19-3 record and the team's first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
• Head coach Tommy Amaker celebrated his 300th career victory on Wednesday with a 73-58 defeat of Boston College. 124 of Amaker's victories have come in Cambridge, ranking him as the third-winningest coach in Harvard history.
Last Time Out
The Harvard men's basketball team maintained its home-court advantage on Wednesday with a 73-58 win over Boston College in front of a sold out crowd at Lavietes Pavilion.
Wesley Saunders and Kyle Casey filled the stat sheet for Harvard with Saunders' 21 points proving to be a game-high. The junior was an efficient 8-of-10 from the field, 4-of-5 from the line, and added six rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks. Casey, meanwhile, turned in his second double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists and three blocks.
Jonah Travis also reached double-digits off the bench with 11 points as Harvard combined to shoot 50.0 percent (24-48) for the game. BC, meanwhile, managed to shoot 40.0 percent (20-50) despite beginning the game 7-of-26 in the first half. The Crimson also outrebounded the Eagles by a 36-24 spread and scored 14 points in transition.
Ivy League Digital Network
For the first time ever, all of Harvard's home games and road Ivy League contests which are not being televised will be streamed in HD quality featuring a live scoreboard, new graphics package and play-by-play commentary through the Ivy League Digital Network. Subscribers to the network can watch games both live and On-Demand on their computers, tablets or smart phones, and will have access to live and On-Demand content for all Harvard events throughout the duration of their subscription.
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Rank and File
Harvard is currently listed as receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 after having also received votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll for the first four weeks of the season. The Crimson last appeared in either poll the week of Feb. 6, 2012 when the AP had the squad ranked No. 25 and the coaches had it at No. 21.
AP Top 25
Harvard has consistently been among the nation's best in the RPI rankings, regardless of which service you follow.
Rank (as of Jan. 2)
Just Keep Winning
Harvard is currently enjoying an eight-game win streak, the team's longest since taking nine in-a-row between Jan. 7 and Feb. 10, 2012. The Crimson enjoyed a program record 13-game win streak in 1945-46 en route to a 19-3 record and the team's first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Harvard has also won 16 straight games at Lavietes Pavilion, the program's best home win streak since earning a record 28 straight victories at Lavietes between Feb. 19, 2010 and Feb. 24, 2012.
Stuffing the Stat Sheet
Wesley Saunders, a unanimous All-Ivy League first team selection a year ago, currently ranks in the Ancient Eight's top 10 in 10 categories; scoring (4th, 15.5 ppg), assists (2nd, 3.8 apg), steals (1st, 2.4 spg), blocks (7th, 0.9 bpg), field goal percentage (10th, 49.6 pct.), free throw percentage (6th, 78.6 pct.), assist-to-turnover ratio (6th, 1.4), defensive rebounds (10th, 4.0), minutes (5th, 33.6 min.).
Born to Assist
Siyani Chambers, the Ivy League leader in assists (5.1 apg), has dished out at least five assists seven times this season and has dropped eight dimes or more three times. The sophomore boasts 27 career games with five or more assists and has eight games of eight or more assists.
Players of the Week
Siyani Chambers earned the first two Ivy League Player of the Week honors of his career in back-to-back weeks Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 after combing for 46 points on 14-of-21 shooting from the floor, 11-of-15 from three, in wins over Vermont and Fordham. This included a career-high 27-point performance against Vermont, when he was 9-of-10 from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from deep. Chambers added 12 assists in this time, dishing out a season-high nine at Fordham.
Wesley Saunders was named the Ivy League Player of the Week in back-to-back weeks Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, moving him into a tie for sixth place in conference history with seven career honors. Saunders has matched the totals put up by Jeremy Lin '10, Dartmouth's Sea Lonergan and Cornell's Ryan Wittman, and needs just one more award to match Kyle Snowden '97 for the most by a member of the Crimson. The Ivy League record for career player of the week awards stands at nine and is held by Princeton's Ian Hummer and Brown's Earl Hunt.
Six members of the Crimson scored in double-digits against Fordham; Siyani Chambers (19 pts.), Kyle Casey (17 pts.), Agunwa Okolie (17 pts.), Wesley Saunders (14 pts.), Steve Moundou-Missi (11 pts.) and Laurent Rivard (10 pts.).
Protecting the Paint
Kyle Casey currently ranks fifth in Harvard history with 104 career blocks and is on pace to join Brian Cusworth '07, Matt Stehle '06 and Keith Wright '12 as one of just four players in Crimson annals to record 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 100 blocks.
Harvard defeated Denver, Green Bay and TCU en route to winning the 2013 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Wesley Saunders was named the tournament's most outstanding player after averaging 14.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 4.7 apg, and was joined on the all-tournament team by Siyani Chambers (10.3 ppg, 4.7 apg) and Steve Moundou-Missi (12.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
This marked the first tournament title for the Crimson since taking the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis in 2011, and was the first Great Alaska Shootout title for Tommy Amaker after having also coached in the tournament with Seton Hall (head coach, 1997) and Duke (assistant coach, 1995).
The Crimson held TCU to just 25.0 percent (14-56) shooting in the Great Alaska Shootout championship game, marking the lowest opponent field goal percentage in the Tommy Amaker era. The previous low stood at 27.9 percent (12-43) and was set earlier this season by MIT.
Evan Cummins recorded six blocks against TCU, setting a new Great Alaska Shootout championship game record. The previous mark of five had been held by Sheldon Williams (Duke, 2003) and Keith Owens (UCLA, 1990).
Laurent Rivard made five three-pointers against Green Bay to overtake Dan Clemente '01 as the Crimson's all-time record holder. Rivard's 232 career triples also rank 10th in Ivy League annals, while his 80 makes from long range in 2012-13 were the most ever by a member of the Crimson.
Join the Club
Seniors Kyle Casey and Laurent Rivard each eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau against Green Bay, bringing Harvard's total number of 1,000 point scorers to 30. Casey currently ranks 20th in program history with 1,086 points while Rivard is 25th with 1,062.
Harvard recorded double-digit steals in four straight games from Nov. 12 - Nov. 24, matching the longest stretch of double-digit steal performances under head coach Tommy Amaker, and has come away with at least 10 steals in five contests this season.
Harvard picked up lopsided victories versus MIT (79-37) and Howard (76-44), marking the first time under head coach Tommy Amaker that the Crimson has won back-to-back games by 30-plus points. This also marked the first time since January of 2012 that Harvard had allowed fewer than 50 points in consecutive games.
Harvard's home-opening 79-37 win versus MIT was highlighted by the Crimson's play at the defensive end, which resulted in several noteable statistics;
• Harvard's 42-point margin of victory was the second largest under head coach Tommy Amaker, behind only a 94-51 triumph against Daniel Webster on Dec. 28, 2008.
• The Crimson allowed just 37 points to MIT, marking the third time under head coach Tommy Amaker that an opponent has scored fewer than 40 points (most recent at Yale, 65-35, 1/27/12).
• The Engineers shot just 27.9 percent from the field, which at the time stood as the lowest opponent field goal percentage in the Amaker era.
• Harvard forced 29 MIT turnovers, the most for the Crimson under head coach Tommy Amaker.
• Harvard's 19 steals versus the Engineers were one shy of the program record of 20, which has been accomplished four times (most recent vs. Hartford, 1/30/01).
2013-14 Dunk Tally
The Crimson is approaching or has already reached several milestones this season;
• Laurent Rivard became the program's all-time leader in three-pointers (232) and currently ranks 10th in Ivy League history.
• Kyle Casey (1,086) and Laurent Rivard (1,062) became the 29th and 30th members of Harvard's 1,000-point club.
• Kyle Casey became just the fifth member of the Crimson to record 100 career blocks and is closing in on 600 career rebounds.
• Laurent Rivard (104 app.), Kyle Casey (99 app.) and Brandyn Curry (94 app.) are each approaching or have already hit 100 career appearances.
• Head coach Tommy Amaker moved into third place for wins by a Harvard head coach (124) and registered his 300th career victory.
• The Crimson won its 250th game at Lavietes Pavilion.
Cousy Award Watch List
Brandyn Curry and Siyani Chambers were among 50 student-athletes named to the watch list for the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men's college basketball. The list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 in early February, then final five by early March. The Cousy Award winner will be presented the honor on Championship Monday in Dallas at the Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 Announcement and Press Conference.
Lou Henson Preseason All-America
Wesley Saunders was named to the 2013 Lou Henson Preseason All-America Team as one of the top 25 student-athletes from mid-major conferences. Following the season, the Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the top Mid-Major student-athlete in Division I college basketball. The award is named in honor of Lou Henson who retired after a spectacular coaching career that lasted 41 years.
This season, Harvard has teamed up with the 3PointFoundation to participate in the Coach4aDay program, helping to raise funds and awareness in the fight against illiteracy. The3PointFoundation teaches and mentors urban boys to prepare them for success in academics and life by concentrating on reading, writing, mathematics and character development for underserved youth who have demonstrated commitment, discipline and enthusiasm by playing in organized basketball programs.
For more information on the Coach4aDay program or to learn how you can get involved, click here.
Three Crimson had the honor of representing their country over the summer as a member of their respective national teams; Steve Moundou-Missi (Cameroon Senior National Team), Agunwa Okolie (Canadian Men's Junior National Team) and Laurent Rivard (Canadian Developmental National Team).
In The Spotlight
Twelve of Harvard's 30 games have been picked up for national or regional television broadcasts this season. The Crimson appeared on TV a program record 17 times last season, including a record four televised games at Lavietes Pavilion.
Harvard's game against Boston College marked the second straight sell out for the Crimson after having also filled Lavietes Pavilion to capacity versus Vermont. Harvard has played in front of a sold out home crowd 16 times over the past two-plus years, including a record 10 times in 2011-12.
Home Court Advantage
The Harvard men's and women's basketball teams have combined for a 99-11 record at home in Lavietes Pavilion since 2009-10 while going 49-7 against the Ivy League. The Crimson men are 54-4 (.931) overall, 25-3 (.892) against the Ancient Eight, with the women going 45-7 (.865) overall, 24-4 (.857) in conference. The men's team's run of dominance includes a program record 28-game home win streak that lasted more than two calendar years between Feb. 19, 2010 and Feb. 24, 2012.
On The Sidelines
With 124 victories under his belt, Tommy Amaker ranks third all-time in Harvard coaching annals.
Frank Sullivan, 1991-07
Amaker's .649 win percentage, meanwhile, ranks first among Harvard coaches who have spent at least two seasons at the helm of the team.
Tommy Amaker, 2007-present