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Fast Start Propels Harvard Past Yale

Brandon Sherrod. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Brandon Sherrod. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Eliminated From Race For Ivy Title

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Harvard used a fast start to end Yale's hopes of an Ivy League championship. The Crimson raced out to a 16-2 lead and then held off a couple of runs from the Bulldogs en route to a 70-58 victory before a raucous, sellout crowd of 2,532 at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

With the victory, Harvard (25-4, 12-1 Ivy) clinched its fourth straight Ivy crown and third straight outright title.

The Crimson did it with an outstanding offensive performance. Harvard shot 56.8 percent from the field and made 6-of-16 three-pointers.

"It was out of character for us," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball, of his team's defense. "We did not get back in transition and missed assignments."

Justin Sears was outstanding for the Bulldogs, finishing with 28 points and 13 rebounds. He was 11-of-16 from the field, including a couple of highlight reel dunks.

"Justin was tremendous," Jones said. "I'm in awe of what he is able to do."

Harvard coach Tommy Amaker was equally impressed.

"He's as good as anyone in our conference," Amaker said. "He's a tough matchup and has performed like that all season. He's a tough guy to defend."

Matt Townsend scored eight points and Brandon Sherrod added seven for the Bulldogs (15-12, 9-4 Ivy).

Siyani Chambers led a balanced Crimson attack with 17 points and six assists. Steve Moundou-Missi added 16 points, and Brandyn Curry scored 14.

Despite the slow start, Yale was within seven late in the first half, but Curry made two three-pointers to send the Crimson to the locker room with a 36-23 lead.

Harvard increased its advantage to 18 midway through the second half, but the Bulldogs refused to fold. Sherrod's jumper pulled them within eight, and Yale had a couple of open threes that would have cut into the deficit more, but couldn't connect.

The Bulldogs finished 0-of-14 from beyond the arc in the game.

"I thought we had good looks," Jones said. "I just tried to tell them to shoot with confidence."

Chambers' three-pointer from the top of the key with 3:26 left proved to be the dagger. It gave the Crimson a 62-51 lead. Yale never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

NOTES: The last time Yale was held without a three-pointer was against Columbia on Feb. 21, 2009… The Bulldogs close out the regular season on Saturday, hosting Dartmouth at 7 p.m. A victory would clinch second-place outright for Yale and further boost its postseason resume… The Bulldogs can also reach 10 wins in Ivy play for the first time since 2006-07… Yale's three seniors – Jeremiah Kreisberg, Jesse Pritchard and Isaiah Salafia will be honored prior to tip.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity