Tommy Amaker

Harvard avoids another late-game collapse in win over Cornell

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Harvard led Cornell by 21 in the second half twice. The Crimson went on to beat the Big Red 67-65 to remain perfect and atop the Ivy League standings.

With 4:21 to go, Harvard freshman guard Siyani Chambers hit Christian Webster for a 3-pointer to give the Crimson a 15-point lead, which was the last bucket Harvard scored. Cornell went on a 13-0 run in that time before a 3-point attempt Errick Peck missed in the final seconds as Harvard held on.

In those final four minutes, Harvard was 0-for-3 from the field, which doesn’t include missing the front end of a 1-and-1, and committed a pair of turnovers.

The unraveling of Harvard in Friday night’s win looks like it becoming a habit.

Friday’s finish was similar to the way the Crimson finished the 2012 calendar year. On New Year’s Eve at St. Mary’s, Harvard blew an 18-point led, as the Gaels stormed back with a 16-5 run in the final six-plus minutes to steal the victory. Harvard missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and only made 1-of-2 with 1:30 remaining that kept it a one possession game.

Harvard committed four turnovers, the last one with 33 seconds that gave the Gaels the ball for the final shot … or in this case the final two shots. Mitchell Young corralled the Matthew Dellavedova miss and was fouled with 1.1 seconds and calmly sank both free throws, giving the Gaels a 70-69 win.

Tommy Amaker’s team should have defeated UMass on the road back in November, but a pair of turnovers in the final 45 seconds set up a Jesse Morgan tying three and a Sampson Carter game-winning triple.

Chambers has been great as a freshman point guard this season for Harvard, averaging 13.3 points and 6.1 assists. Yet, he’s still a freshman and it’s shown. The 85 percent free throw shooter has been the one to miss the front end of a 1-and-1 against St. Mary’s and again on Friday night.

Harvard (13-6, 5-0) is the defending Ivy League champions and currently holds the top spot in the conference, but not by much. Princeton trails by half a game. The Tigers cruised to victory Friday against Brown and next week they make the trip to Cambridge to take on the Crimson.

Both teams have a pair of games in between that matchup, but if both can remain perfect heading into next Saturday, it will be interesting to see if Harvard can build from these tight finishes or continue to succumb to the pressure.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

POSTERIZED: Jaylen Brown throws down hard in transition

Albert Almanza, Jaylen Brown, Jalin Barnes
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Jaylen Brown is a top five player in the Class of 2015 and a kid projected as a top ten pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.


Because he does things like this:

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Denzel Valentine, the nation’s best player?

Denzel Valentine
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
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(This will be updated throughout the day.)

GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 74, No. 25 Texas A&M 67

The Orange got 20 points from Michael Gbinije and 15 points and five assists from Trevor Cooney as they won the Battle 4 Atlantis title on Friday afternoon. We wrote on this game earlier. Are the Orange for real this year?


Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: 32 points, nine boards, six assists

No. 3 Michigan State beat Boise State 77-67 in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy out in California, but the result of that game is less important than the result of Valentine’s night. A night after notching his second triple-double of the season, Valentine took over another way on Friday, hitting five straight threes in the span of about five minutes to put the Spartans up double-figures in a game they were struggling to take control of.

In three games against high-major competition, Valentine is now averaging 30.0 points, 10.7 boards and 9.3 assists. He has been, unequivocally, the best player in college basketball this season.

No. 10 Gonzaga 73, No. 17 UConn 70: Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis made some big plays down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on to win a game they led by as much as 21 in the second half. Kyle Wiltjer scored a team-best 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished third at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Rob Dauster wrote more about the Bulldogs and their second-half performance here.

Alabama 64, No. 20 Wichita State 60: While the Shockers’ losses to USC and Alabama don’t help them from an NCAA tournament standpoint, the bigger issue is the team’s health.

No. 17 Notre Dame 68, Iowa 62: The Fighting Irish blew a 15-point second half lead, but the comeback gassed the Hawkeyes, as Notre Dame was able to pull away down the stretch. V.J. Beachem led the way with 16 points.


Quincy Ford, Northeastern: Not only did he score 24 points in the upset win over No. 15 Miami, but he hit the game-winning jumper, too. Video here.

Cat Barber, N.C. State: Barber notched a career-high 37 points to go along with eight assists as the Wolfpack fought off a scrappy Winthrop team, 87-79. He wasn’t the best scorer on the floor, though …

Jimmy Gavin, Winthrop: Gavin finished with 38 points. Off the bench. The most incredible part? He was 5-foot-4, 90 pounds as a sophomore due to Crohn’s Disease.

John Egbunu, Florida: Egbunu finished with 17 points, 11 boards and four blocks as the Gators knocked off FGCU, 70-50. Dorian Finney-Smith added 23 points for Florida.


Wichita State’s bigs: Five of them (Anton Grady, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Bush Wakumota, Eric Hamilton) finished a combined 3-for-21 from the floor with 14 points and 14 fouls. Wakumota shot one of the worst threes you’ll ever see with Wichita State down 62-60 with 10 seconds left.

Grady suffered a scary neck injury late in the game, but early reports sound positive.


  • Jamal Murray went for 21 points and three assists without a turnover at No. 1 Kentucky rolled over South Florida. The big question: How bad is Tyler Ulis’ elbow injury?
  • Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart both had 13 points as No. 8 Villanova knocked off Georgia Tech to win the Preseason NIT, 69-52.
  • No. 23 Xavier raced out of the gates against USC and led by as much as 32, going on to win 87-77 in Orlando. Trevon Bluiett led four Musketeers in double figures with 16 points and James Farr added 12 to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.
  • Troy Caupain had 17 points and Octavious Ellis added 12 points and nine boards (seven offensive) as No. 24 Cincinnati outlasted Nebraska, 65-61, at the Barclays Center.


  • Stanford finished third at the Preseason NIT with a 69-66 win over Arkansas, closing the game on a stunning 21-1 run. Rosco Allen scored eight of his career-high 25 points during that run, and Marcus Allen’s goal-tended layup with 2.6 seconds remaining gave the Cardinal the lead for good.
  • Taurean Waller-Prince had 25 points to lead Baylor to a win over Arkansas State.
  • Joey King’s 18 points paced five players in double-figures for Minnesota as they knocked off Omaha, 93-90.
  • Caris LeVert had 19 points and Derrick Walton added 13 points and seven assists as the Wolverines beat Texas in the fifth-place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis.