Men's Basketball Notches 20th Win at Cornell, 67-44
Curry totaled 14 points and five steals as the Crimson rolled to victory (Gil Talbot).
ITHACA, N.Y. – The Harvard men's basketball team earned its 20th win of the season Saturday night, knocking off Cornell to complete the weekend sweep, 67-44.
Harvard improves to 20-4 overall and 7-1 against the Ivy League with the win, and remains tied with Yale atop the conference standings after the Bulldogs defeated Princeton in overtime, 66-65. The Crimson has now won at least 20 games in five straight seasons, becoming the first Ivy League program to post five straight 20-win seasons since Penn did so a record six times from 1970-75.
Harvard had four players in double-digits for a second straight night led by Brandyn Curry's 14 points. The senior also dished out three assists and matched his career-high with five steals on the defensive end. Laurent Rivard, meanwhile, notched 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from behind-the-arc to go with four boards and two assists.
Wesley Saunders and Steve Moundou-Missi totaled 11 points and 10 points, respectively, with Saunders also chipping in three assists. As a team the Crimson shot 58.7 percent (27-46) from the field, the squad's second-highest percentage of the year, and was 8-of-16 from three.
Cornell (2-20, 1-7 Ivy League) was paced by Nolan Cressler's 17 points. The Big Red's 44 points scored were the second fewest by a Harvard opponent this season, and marked the fifth time this year an opponent has scored fewer than 50.
Rivard opened the scoring with a corner three and Saunders followed with a layup in transition for a 5-2 margin. Harvard used baskets by Kyle Casey, Saunders and Curry to extend the lead to 11-4, and maintained the seven-point spread with a three-pointer from Siyani Chambers, 14-7. Curry moved the score to 17-9 with a three of his own, then gave the Crimson its first double-digit advantage, 20-10, with a breakaway layup off a steal.
Moundou-Missi came away with a steal on the next trip down the court and was rewarded in transition with an easy bucket. On the ensuing possession, another Curry steal led to a Moundou-Missi hook shot for a 24-10 lead. Two additional baskets by Moundou-Missi and Curry moved the score to 28-12, but eight straight points by the Big Red made it a 28-20 game with under 4:00 remaining in the half.
Casey made an acrobatic play on a lob from Saunders to go back on top by 10, 30-20, and Saunders drove the baseline for a 32-20 edge. Rivard added his second triple of the frame, and after a three-ball by Chambers the Crimson took a 38-24 margin into the break.
Harvard shot 64.0 percent (16-25) in the half while holding Cornell to a 37.5 percent (9-24) clip, and was 5-of-11 from beyond-the-arc. Curry led all scorers with nine points, as Chambers, Moundou-Missi, Rivard and Saunders added six apiece.
Moundou-Missi began the second half with a basket down low before a thunderous slam by Casey pushed the score to 42-24. Cornell responded with seven unanswered points to pull within 42-31, but a Saunders drive ended the Big Red run. A Curry layup made it a 47-31 game, and Agunwa Okolie beat the shot clock with a high arching shot for a 52-36 advantage.
Harvard kept the pressure on with a Curry triple, and a pair of free throw from Moundou-Missi gave the Crimson it's first 20-point lead, 59-39, with 4:39 to play. Rivard added a pair of three-pointers down the stretch, and after a spinning drive from Okolie, Harvard walked away with the 67-44 victory.
Game Notes: Harvard and Yale remain tied atop the Ivy League standings with 7-1 marks in the Ancient Eight … Harvard has won at least 20 games in each of the last five years, becoming the first Ivy League program to post five straight 20-win seasons since Penn did so a record six times from 1970-75 … The Crimson shot 58.7 percent (27-46) from the field, the second-highest field goal percentage by the team this season … Harvard held Cornell to 44 points, the second lowest total for a Crimson opponent this season and the fifth time an opponent has scored fewer than 50 … Laurent Rivard scored 12 points to pass Keith Wright '12 for 16th place on Harvard's career scoring list (1,188 points) … Harvard had four players reach double-digits for the second straight game … Brandyn Curry matched his career-high with five steals.