The Crimson dropped its first home contest since 2012 (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's basketball team saw its 20-game home win streak come to an end Saturday night as Yale downed the Crimson at a sold-out Lavietes Pavilion, 62-53.
The loss drops Harvard into a tie with Yale for first place in the Ivy League standings as both teams now sit 5-1 in the conference. The victory was the first for the Bulldogs in Lavietes Pavilion since Feb. 6, 2009, and marked the Crimson's first home loss since Nov. 27, 2012.
Wesley Saunders paced Harvard offensively with 16 points, four assists and zero turnovers in 39 minutes. Brandyn Curry added 12 points and was 3-of-5 from three, as Siyani Chambers notched 10 points and three helpers. Harvard turned the ball over only nine times for the game, but shot just 39.0 percent (23-59) from the field and was 14-of-25 at the line.
Justin Sears and Armani Cotton each posted a double-double with Sears' 21-point, 10-rebound effort leading the way. Cotton turned in 13 points and 10 boards, as the Bulldogs held a 37-24 advantage on the glass. Yale shot 51.2 percent (22-43) on the night and connected on 24-of-29 attempts at the line.
Yale staked itself to a 7-1 advantage before Laurent Rivard was fouled behind the arc and completed the four-point play to move the score to 7-5. Curry's behind-the-back pass to Evan Cummins for an easy lay-in got the capacity crowd buzzing, and two plays later Chambers connected for a three to give the Crimson its first lead, 12-10. The Bulldogs went back in front, 15-12, but a triple from Curry deep in the corner moved the score to 17-15 in Harvard's favor.
With Yale back in the lead, 19-17, Saunders hit a fade-away jumper from inside the key to even the score. Jonah Travis' 10-foot jumper gave the Crimson a 21-19 edge beginning a series of four lead changes, with the Bulldogs eventually getting the upper hand and taking a 30-25 advantage off an Armani Cotton make. Yale got out in transition to extend the margin to 33-26, and Jesse Pritchard capped off the 14-6 run with a three to make it a 36-29 game.
Harvard closed the half with a flurry to pull within 39-35 at the break. It began with free throws from Rivard and Steve Moundou-Missi, and continued with a triple for Rivard to move the score to 36-32. A three on the next possession by Saunders cut the deficit to one, 36-35, before a trey for Jack Montague gave the Bulldogs the four-point margin.
Saunders led all scorers at the break with 11 points as Rivard added nine. Yale built its lead shooting 56.4 percent (13-23) from the field, 4-of-7 from three and 9-of-10 from the line while the Crimson made just 39.3 percent (11-28) of its attempts and was 8-of-15 at the charity stripe.
Yale scored six straight points out of the break for a 45-35 advantage. Moundou-Missi ended the drought with a hook shot in the paint, and after a basket by Kyle Casey and free throw from Saunders the score stood at 45-40. The Bulldogs notched four straight points regain a 49-40 edge, but an and-one by Casey pulled Harvard to within six, 49-43.
A Casey block on the defensive end led to a Moundou-Missi and-one to make it a 50-47 game, and the score stood at 53-49 following Curry's strip of Montague at midcourt for a breakaway layup. Yale would not relinquish the lead, however, using a 7-0 spurt to push the score to 60-49.
Trailing 62-51, a Saunders jumper sparked a 7-2 run as Harvard pulled to within 64-58 with 2:12 remaining. Casey capped the spurt off with a two-handed slam after Chambers stole the ball from Duren and took it the distance. Free throws from Cotton extended the margin to eight, 66-58, before Curry buried a three from the wing with 1:04 to play to cut the deficit to 66-61.
Harvard would get no closer, however, as the Bulldogs went 8-of-10 from the line in the final 51 seconds to close out the 74-67 win.
Game Notes: The loss snaps a 20-game win streak for Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion which dated back to last season … Yale shot 51.2 percent (21-41) from the field and 60.0 percent (6-10) from three, both the highest totals by a Harvard opponent this season … Harvard trailed 39-35 at the half, marking just the second time this season the Crimson has trailed at the break … Kyle Casey matched his career-high with four blocks to tie Bill Mohler '88 for third place on Harvard's career blocks list (117).