Harvard 66, Army 54
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Junior F Cleveland Richard scored a career-high 16 points in Army’s 66-54 loss to Harvard at Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday afternoon. The Crimson used a 23-6 advantage from the foul line to take their second straight victory.
After trailing by one at the break, the Black Knights (1-5) led 34-33 with 13:40 left in the game, but the Crimson (3-1) went on a 23-8 run over the next seven minutes to seize control. Army was able to cut the deficit back to eight points at 56-48 with 5:27 left, but Harvard put the game away with an 8-0 run during the next five minutes and never trailed by fewer than 12 for the remainder of the contest.
Richard also led the Black Knights with six rebounds, four assists and four steals. The Houston native missed just one shot on the day, connecting on 7 of 8 from the field and his only foul shot. Richard has now reached double figures in five of Army’s six games. Freshman G Jesse Steele scored a career-high six points and made two steals in a career-best 15 minutes of work.
Jeremy Lin led the Crimson with a game-high 24 points. Lin was 6 for 12 from the field, including three three-pointers, and made all nine of his foul shots. Drew Housman chipped in with 15 points, while Keith Wright notched a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double. He also blocked a game-high four shots.
Army outshot the Crimson, 44.0 percent to 38.3 percent, but Harvard was 23 of 29 from the free throw line while the Black Knights made only six of their 12 free throws. Harvard also held a 36-29 edge on the glass.
The Black Knights have now lost five straight games, their longest streak since a seven-game skid during the 2006-07 season.
The first half featured five ties and 13 lead changes as neither team held more than a four-point advantage during the first 20 minutes.
A three-pointer by sophomore G Nathan Hedgecock gave the Black Knights a 3-0 lead, their largest of the half. Harvard scored the next four points to take its first lead, but a jumper by Richard put Army back in front at 5-4 with 17:36 left in the half. Lin scored the Crimson’s next five points to stake them to a 9-5 advantage at the 14:09 mark, but Army went on a 6-0 run to re-take the lead at 11-9 on a basket by junior G Marcus Nelson.
Lin put the Crimson back in the lead, 12-11, with a long three-pointer as the shot clock expired that ended a five-minute, 30-second Harvard scoring drought. A pair of free throws pushed the lead to three points, but Nelson stroked his first triple of the season to once again knot the score.
A jumper by Wright put the Crimson back in front, but a three-pointer by junior G Josh Miller from the corner pushed Army ahead 17-16 with 6:25 left in the opening period. The two teams exchanged baskets, and Army held a 21-20 lead before a three-pointer by Andrew Pusar put Harvard back in front, 23-21 with 3:52 to go.
Richard tied it with a jumper in the lane and senior F Kenny Brewer gave the Black Knights back the lead at 25-23 with 2:5 left, but two free throws by Housman and another shot-clock beating jumper by Lin switched the score again. Junior F Eric Zastoupil hit one of two free throws to pull Army within one, but Wright scored his 10th point of the half to stretch the lead back to three. Freshman G Jesse Steele hit a pull-up jumper for his first career points to make it 29-28 with less than 30 seconds to go, and the Army defense held on the final possession to go into the locker room down just one.
Army shot 63.2 percent (12-19) in the first half, its best shooting half of the season, but turned the ball over 11 times. Harvard shot just 31.0 percent (9-29) in the opening 20 minutes, but outscored the Black Knights at the foul line, 9-1.
The see-saw affair continued in the second half as a jumper by senior C Doug Williams put Army on top 30-29 and ended a two-minute, 51-second drought by both teams to start the half. Housman tied it with a free throw, but junior C Chris Walker put Army on top 32-30 with 16:03 left in the game. Lin drilled his second three of the game to put the Crimson back in the driver’s seat, but Richard’s driving layup with 13:40 to go gave Army its final lead at 34-33. Houseman scored his first triple of the game to put Harvard back on top and the Crimson never trailed for the remainder of the game.
Army was still within striking distance after a basket by Richard and two free throws by Zastoupil made it 43-40, but Lin sank a three-pointer to ignite a 13-2 run and put the Crimson firmly in control.
Saturday ended a three-game stretch for the Black Knights versus Ivy League teams. Army is 1-3 this season versus the conference and has one more game a Jan. 3 rematch at Dartmouth left on the docket versus the league.
Army returns home on Monday, Dec. 1 when it hosts Presbyterian. Tip-off at Christl Arena is set for 7 p.m. The two teams split a pair of games last season with each squad winning on its home floor.
Game Notes: Army played 15 of its 18 players in uniform ... Sophomore C Ross Trampler made his collegiate debut ... Army had 11 players score at least two points, its second-highest total of the season (12 vs. Dartmouth) ... Army has lost four straight to the Crimson, but still leads the series, 15-8 ... The Black Knights are now 5-12 in their last 17 games when not scoring at least 60 points ... Army has been outrebounded in all five of its losses this season and is 5-19 the last 24 times it has been at a disadvantage on the glass ... Eric Zastoupil accounted for three of the Black Knights six free throws (3-4). The rest of the team was 3 of 8 from the stripe ... Cleveland Richard, Josh Miller and Marcus Nelson have accounted for 184 points through six games, exactly one-half of Army’s 368 total points ... Monday’s game against Presbyterian ends a stretch of seven games in 17 days to start the season.