The Crimson won its fifth straight game to put Ancient Eight championship in sight (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's basketball team celebrated Senior Night with a 72-47 win over Cornell Friday, moving itself into position to clinch at least a share of its fourth straight Ivy League championship along the way.
The victory improved Harvard to 23-4 overall, 10-1 against the Ancient Eight, and paired with Yale's 57-46 loss at Princeton puts the Crimson two games ahead of the Eli with three to play. A win on Saturday would guarantee Harvard at least a share of the conference crown, while a win and a Yale loss would give the Crimson the title outright.
Siyani Chambers scored 15 points and dished out four assists to help Harvard to the victory, shooting 4-of-6 from three-point range while also coming away with two steals. Brandyn Curry turned in 12 points, five assists and two steals while Kyle Casey added 10 points and four boards.
Harvard shot 51.1 percent (23-45) on the night despite beginning the game 0-of-5 from the field, and dominated the glass with a 34-18 rebounding margin. Cornell, which shot just 39.1 percent (18-46), was led by Darryl Smith's 14 points and Dwight Tarwater's 10.
It took Harvard nearly five minutes to get on the scoreboard as Chambers' three-pointer with 15:17 on the clock cut into Cornell's early lead, 4-3. Steve Moundou-Missi gave the Crimson its first advantage, 5-4, but the Big Red answered back and went in front thanks to a Tarwater jumper with 11:40 to play, 8-7.
It was all Harvard from there as the Crimson outscored Cornell 27-10 to take a 34-18 lead into the break. Curry's and-one sparked the run with Casey's emphatic slam in transition moving the score to 12-8. Back-to-back three's for Casey and Chambers moved the score to 20-13, and an and-one for Evan Cummins gave Harvard its first double-digit lead, 25-13.
Curry scored five straight points to extend the margin to 32-13 as the Crimson went into the break on top by 16, 34-18. Curry led Harvard with eight points at the break while Chambers added six and four assists. Harvard closed the half shooting 11-of-16 after the 0-of-5 start and outrebounded the Big Red 15-8.
Cornell came out of the intermission with a 5-2 spurt to cut its deficit to 34-23. The margin remained at 11 as Chambers and Tarwater exchanged triples, before a turnaround jumper by Moundou-Missi keyed a 12-3 stretch as Harvard began to pull away. Laurent Rivard and Chambers connected from long-range on back-to-back possessions to get the crowd going, and Curry got to the rim in transition following a Moundou-Missi block to make it 10 straight points. Curry went the length of the court again after corralling a rebound, putting the Crimson's lead at 20 points for the first time, 53-35.
Harvard extended its edge to 64-41 with a Casey and-one and reverse layup from Agunwa Okolie. Rivard's second triple answered a three-point play by Darryl Smith, and three free throws by Jonah Travis made it a 70-44 game. Zena Edosomwan scored Harvard's final points of the night with his first career dunk as the Crimson took the game by the final score of 72-47.
Game Notes: Harvard's win, paired with Yale's 57-46 loss at Princeton, gives the Crimson a chance to earn at least a share of the Ivy League title on Saturday with a win, and a chance to take the title outright with a victory and Yale loss … Should Harvard clinch at least a share of the Ivy League title, it would mark the first time a team has won four straight Ivy league championships since Penn did so from 1993-96 … Harvard's 23 wins are tied for the second most in program history (26 in 2011-12) … Harvard began the game shooting 0-of-5 from the field but closed the half 11-of-16 … Kyle Casey scored 10 points to move into 16th place on Harvard's career list (1,202 points) … Laurent Rivard appeared in his 118th career game, tying Oliver McNally '12 for the program record … Harvard went with a new lineup for Senior Night, starting seniors Kyle Casey, Brandyn Curry, Dee Giger and Laurent Rivard along with sophomore Siyani Chambers.