Men's Basketball Earns Season Sweep of Penn with 83-63 Win at The Palestra
Chambers dished out 10 assists as the Crimson earned the season sweep of Penn (Gil Talbot).
PHILADELPHIA – The Harvard men's basketball team turned Penn over 20 times and had six players score at least nine points as it rolled to an 83-63 win over the Quakers Friday night at The Palestra.
The victory keeps Harvard tied atop the Ivy League standings with Yale, which earned an 82-65 win at Cornell. The Crimson is now 21-4 overall on the year, 8-1 in conference.
Harvard's defensive pressure forced Penn (6-16, 3-5 Ivy League) into 20 turnovers, the second most by a Crimson opponent this season, resulting in 24 points for the Crimson and 13 steals. Brandyn Curry led the charge with four takeaways, as seven different Crimson registered at least one steal.
Steve Moundou-Missi paced four double-digit scorers with 14 points while Laurent Rivard added 13. Kyle Casey and Wesley Saunders each turned in 12 points, with Curry and Siyani Chambers contributing nine apiece. Chambers nearly recorded his first double-double of the year, finishing with a season-high 10 assists against just one turnover.
Harvard shot 50.0 percent (26-52) as a team while going 27-of-35 at the line. Penn, meanwhile, shot at a 47.8 percent (22-46) clip but was undone by its turnovers. Fran Dougherty led the Quakers in scoring with 15 points.
Penn opened a 6-2 lead out of the gates before Saunders took over, scoring six points on three straight possessions to even the score, 8-8. Harvard took its first lead as Rivard hit from the corner for three points, 13-10, and went ahead 17-13 after Chambers found Casey for a contested lay-in. A jumper by Casey moved the score to 20-15, and Chambers pulled up from deep to beat the shot and make it a 23-15 game.
The Quakers switched to a zone following Chambers basket but Harvard had an answer in the form of Casey. The senior immediately got to the rim for a traditional three-point play, and on the next possession added two more from the charity stripe to push the margin to 28-17. A pair of free throws for Evan Cummins gave the Crimson its largest lead of the frame, 31-19, before a 10-4 stretch by Penn pulled the Quakers within six, 35-29.
Harvard got a big swing in momentum as Casey pinned Dylan Jones' layup attempt against the glass, leading to a transition three from Rivard to move the score to 39-29. The Crimson got a similar boost right before the buzzer, with Chambers stripping Miles Jackson-Cartwright before finding a streaking Curry for an uncontested layup and a 41-29 advantage.
Rivard and Casey each totaled 10 points in the half with Saunders adding eight. As a team the Crimson shot 48.1 percent (13-27) against a 52.6 percent (10-19) performance by the Quakers, but scored 15 points of 12 Penn turnovers.
Moundou-Missi began the second half with an authoritative two-handed slam, and completed the and-one to give Harvard a 44-29 edge. Saunders cut through traffic on the Crimson's next possession, and then stripped the ball from Tony Hicks leading to another Moundou-Missi basket on the break. A two-handed dunk for Casey continued the run, and Rivard capped off the 12-3 stretch with his third triple of the night for a 53-32 margin.
Curry scored a pair of baskets to begin an 8-2 spurt for the Crimson, with Cummins' dunk making it a 63-40 game with 12:16 remaining. Another Curry bucket moved the score to 67-43, and after Moundou-Missi scored five straight points for Harvard it was a 76-51 game. Penn battled back to pull within 20 points, 78-58, but it was too little, too late as Harvard picked up the 83-63 victory.
Games Notes: Harvard remains tied with Yale atop the Ivy League standings with an 8-1 conference record, 21-4 overall … Harvard's 21 victories are tied for third most in program history … Harvard came away with 13 steals, it's second-highest total of the season and the second most for the Crimson against an Ivy League opponent under head coach Tommy Amaker … Siyani Chambers nearly registered his first double-double of the year with nine points and a season-best 10 assists … Laurent Rivard scored 13 points to go over 1,200 points for his career (1,201 points) … Kyle Casey scored 12 points to pass Keith Wright '12 for 17th place on Harvard's career scoring list (1,185 points).