Men's Basketball Concludes First Half of Ivy Play at Columbia, Cornell
Harvard at Columbia
Harvard at Cornell
The Harvard men's basketball team will look to bounce back from its first conference loss of the year as it takes to the road for its first true Ivy League road trip this weekend. The Crimson will first face the Lions of Columbia on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. before taking on the Cornell Big Red on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. Both games can bee seen live on the Ivy League Digital Network.
Harvard has won eight of its last nine games against Columbia but split last year's season series after the Lions earned a 78-63 victory over the Crimson in New York.
• Harvard enters the weekend with an 18-4 overall record and is poised to reach the 20-win plateau for the fifth straight season. Penn was the last team to post five straight 20-win seasons, doing so a record six times from 1970-75.
• Kyle Casey, who on Friday became the fourth student-athlete in Crimson history to record 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 100 blocks, swatted four shots on Saturday to match his career-high and tie Bill Mohler '88 for third place on Harvard's career blocks list (117).
• One night after holding Brown to just 27.3 percent (15-55) shooting, the second-lowest opponent shooting percentage under head coach Tommy Amaker, the Crimson allowed Yale to connect on 51.2 percent of its attempts from the field, the highest shooting percentage by an opponent this season.
Last Time Out
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.
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.
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 was listed as receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 each of the first 14 weeks of the season. The Crimson also received votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll in eight of the first 14 weeks. 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 Feb. 9)
Getting Off on the Right Foot
Harvard began Ivy League play with five straight wins, marking the third year in a row the Crimson has begun the conference slate 5-0 or better. The 2011-12 squad owns the program record for best start to the conference schedule at 7-0.
Home is Where the Wins Are
Harvard recently enjoyed a 20-game home win streak at Lavietes Pavilion which spanned from Dec. 1, 2012 to Feb. 7, 2014. At the time, the streak stood as the sixth-longest in the NCAA.
The program record for consecutive home wins stands at 28 games set between Feb. 19, 2010 and Feb. 24, 2012.
Making a Stand
Harvard's defense is shaping up to be one of the best ever under head coach Tommy Amaker. Opponents are scoring just 60.5 ppg, second best in the Amaker era, while shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from beyond-the-arc, both the lowest totals under Amaker.
Harvard is 9-0 this season when holding opponents to fewer than 60 points, and is 8-0 when opponents shoot under 40.0 percent.
Protecting the Paint
Kyle Casey grabbed nine rebounds against Brown to join Brian Cusworth '07, Matt Stehle '06 and Keith Wright '12 as one of four players in Crimson history to record 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 100 blocks. Casey currently ranks 18th in program history with 1,158 points, 11th with 613 rebounds and third with 117 blocks.
Pouring It On
Harvard scored at least 80 points in three straight games against Dartmouth, Princeton and Penn, marking the first time the team had done so since February of 2010. The Crimson has scored 80-plus points in at least four straight games nine times in program history, including in 1971-72 when it accomplished the feat six games in a row.
The Crimson averaged 80.7 ppg during this stretch while shooting 56.9 percent from the floor, 59.6 percent from three, and outscoring its opponents by 22.0 ppg.
Wesley Saunders' full arsenal of skills was on display against Princeton as the junior led the Crimson in points (24), rebounds (9), assists (7) and steals (3). Saunders shot 9-of-13 from the floor for his fifth 20-point performance of the year while notching his fifth game with five or more assists.
Saunders became the first individual to lead Harvard in points, rebounds, assists and steals since Jeremy Lin '10 did so on Dec. 30, 2009 against George Washington. Saunders has led Harvard in points, rebounds and assists three times in his career.
Stuffing the Stat Sheet
Wesley Saunders, a unanimous All-Ivy League first team selection a year ago, entered the weekend ranked in the Ancient Eight's top 10 in eight categories; scoring (6th, 14.8 ppg), assists (3rd, 3.8 apg), steals (1st, 2.0 spg), blocks (8th, 0.9 bpg), field goal percentage (10th, 49.2 pct.), free throw percentage (10th, 76.9 pct.), assist-to-turnover ratio (5th, 1.5), minutes (5th, 33.7 min.).
Laurent Rivard found his shooting touch against Princeton and Penn, making 11-of-17 attempts from deep to average 20.0 ppg for the weekend. Rivard matched his career-high with six makes against the Quakers, while his 11 combined three-pointers represented the highest total over two games of his career.
Rivard's 258 career three-pointers are the most in Harvard history and rank him fourth in Ivy League annals. Rivard also own's Harvard's single-season record, making 80 from long range in 2012-13.
They're On Fire
Harvard shot 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from beyond-the-arc at Dartmouth to set a school record for highest three-point percentage with a minimum of 10 attempts. The Crimson's 65.9 percent performance from the field, meanwhile, was the highest field goal percentage for Harvard under head coach Tommy Amaker.
Harvard won nine straight games overall between Nov. 28 and Jan. 4, the third longest win streak in program history. 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, and won 10 in-a-row in 1904-05 to finish with an 11-5 mark.
Born to Assist
Siyani Chambers, who entered the weekend ranked second in the Ivy League in assists (4.5), has dished out at least five assists nine times this season and has dropped eight dimes or more three times. The sophomore boasts 29 career games with five or more assists and has eight games of eight or more assists.
Players of the Week
Wesley Saunders (Dec. 3, Dec. 9, Jan. 6) and Siyani Chambers (Dec. 23, Dec. 30) have combined to earn five of the last six player of the week awards handed out by the Ivy League.
Saunders' eight career player of the week honors are the second most in league history, trailing only Princeton's Ian Hummer and Brown's Earl Hunt who own the all-time mark with nine. Saunders' latest accolade also tied him with Kyle Snowden '97 for the most by a member of the Crimson.
Chambers' two honors, meanwhile, were the first of his career after having been named the conference's rookie of the week six times last year.
Moving on Up
Head coach Tommy Amaker, who recently won his 300th career game, continues to move up the ranks of the Ivy League's winningest coaches. Amaker's 130 wins at Harvard are the 13th most in the Ancient Eight since the conference began competition in 1956, while his 59 Ivy League victories rank 16th.
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.).
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. Harvard also limited Brown to 27.3 percent (15-55) shooting and MIT to 27.9 percent (12-43) this year, the second and third lowest totals under Amaker.
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).
Hoop And The Harm
Senior Laurent Rivard, who ranks first in program history with 258 career three-pointers, has been fouled 29 times while shooting from beyond the arc. Nine of those fouls have resulted in an and-one.
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. Rivard currently ranks 17th in program history with 1,166 points while Casey is 18th with 1,158.
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 (258) and currently ranks fourth in Ivy League history.
• Kyle Casey (1,158) and Laurent Rivard (1,166) became the 29th and 30th members of Harvard's 1,000-point club. Wesley Saunders is on pace to become the next member of the Crimson to reach the milestone with 882 career points.
• Kyle Casey became just the fourth member of the Crimson to record 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 100 blocks.
• Laurent Rivard (113 app.), Kyle Casey (108 app.) and Brandyn Curry (103 app.) have each appeared in 100 career games.
• Head coach Tommy Amaker moved into third place for wins by a Harvard head coach (130) and registered his 300th career victory.
• The Crimson won its 250th game at Lavietes.
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.
Tickets to this weekend's game against Yale are sold out, bringing the total number of sell outs this season to five. Harvard has played in front of a sold out home crowd 21 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 104-12 record at home in Lavietes Pavilion since 2009-10 while going 54-8 against the Ivy League. The Crimson men are 58-5 (.921) overall, 29-4 (.879) against the Ancient Eight, with the women going 46-7 (.868) overall, 25-4 (.862) 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 130 victories under his belt, Tommy Amaker ranks third all-time in Harvard coaching annals.
Frank Sullivan, 1991-07
Amaker's .650 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