Saunders Records Double-Double in 67-64 Win Over Yale

Wesley Saunders had a career-best 11 assists (Kevin Burns).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Wesley Saunders recorded his first-career double-double, scoring 15 points and assisting on 11 baskets, as the Harvard men's basketball team topped Yale, 67-64, before a sold out Lavietes Pavilion Friday evening.

Laurent Rivard drained 5-of-7 3-pointers, finishing with 15 points, and Steve Moundou-Missi added 12 points and seven boards, as the Crimson improves to 11-6 overall and 3-0 in the Ivy League. Armani Cotton tallied 14 points to lead Yale, who slips to 7-13 and 1-2 in the Ancient Eight.

The Crimson shot 54.8 percent (23-of-42) for the game and outrebounded Yale, 28-25. Harvard also made 8-of-13 treys (.615) and assisted on 17 of 23 baskets.

After Yale opened a 6-0 lead, Saunders made a bucket in the paint, but the Bulldogs added another basket to go up 8-2. With Harvard trailing, 10-2, Saunders dished a pass to Rivard, who nailed a 3-pointer, making it 10-5. After Saunders made two foul shots, Chambers launched a triple, tying the game, 10-10. The Crimson grabbed its first lead, 14-12, when Moundou-Missi finished with a layup on the break.

With Yale leading, 16-14, Saunders drove the lane and finished with a finger roll, knotting the game. Moundou-Missi connected on another layup, putting the Crimson up 18-16, and then Rivard made a trey, making it a three-point lead, 21-18. With 8:20 left in the first, Christian Webster drained a 3-pointer from the corner, forcing Yale to call timeout, 24-18. Moundou-Missi threw down a two-handed dunk with just under seven minutes to go, 30-20, and then Chambers hit his second triple, 33-23.

Down the stretch in the half, Saunders handed out his seventh assist on a 3-pointer by Rivard, as the Crimson opened a 38-25 advantage. Moments later, Saunders extended his streak of games with double digits in points to 17 games with a bucket, as Harvard led, 40-25, and closed the half with a 38-17 run. Saunders led Harvard with 10 points and seven helpers in the first, and the Crimson shot 57.1 percent from the floor (16-of-28) and had assists on 12 of the 16 baskets.

In the second, Yale went on a 7-2 run to get within eight, 42-34, but Rivard made his fourth 3-pointer to extend the Crimson lead to 45-34. At the 15:45 mark, Rivard drained another triple, keeping Harvard up by 11, 48-37. Moments later, Saunders made a reverse move in the paint and finished with a bucket, and then Moundou-Missi accepted a pass from Saunders, scoring on a reverse layup, 53-40.

Saunders secured his double-double with 10:28 left when he sent an inbound pass to Kenyatta Smith for a layup, 55-42. The Bulldogs went on a 7-1 run, pulling within seven, 56-49, with just under six minutes remaining. With four minutes to go, Jonah Travis scored on a two-handed jam, 59-51, and Chambers made the second of two free throws, 60-53.

In the final minute of action, Chambers headed to the line and hit drained both, putting Harvard up seven, 62-55. With 50.4 ticks left, Alex Nesbitt went to the charity stripe and hit the first of two shots, 63-56. Yale got within three, 63-60, with just 19.3 seconds remaining, but Moundou-Missi drained both, as the Crimson led, 65-60.

The Crimson hosts Brown tomorrow evening at Lavietes Pavilion at 7 p.m.