Harvard’s hopes of making a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament took a significant hit this weekend, as the Crimson dropped home games against Cornell and Columbia. Saturday night’s loss to Columbia, one of the preseason favorites to win the Ivy League, came as a result of Alex Rosenberg’s fadeaway as time expired.
Rosenberg’s shot capped a wild comeback for the Lions, who trailed by as much as 20 in the first half and by a score of 33-16 at the half.
Harvard’s now 1-3 in Ivy League play, a full three games behind Columbia and Yale. While it is early in league play, the fact that the Ivy doesn’t have a conference tournament (they label their conference slate as the “14-game tournament”) makes these regular season games that much more important.
Video credit: Ivy League Digital Network
LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 3 Oklahoma takes Diamond Head Classic crown
Trailing by two at the half, the third-ranked Sooners went on a 21-0 run to take control of the Diamond Head Classic title game. Buddy Hield scored 34 points and Jordan Woodard added 28 for Lon Kruger’s team, but can they be a national title contender? Read more about those possibilities here.
Hawai’i 79, Auburn 67: Roderick Bobbitt reached the 30-point mark for the second straight game, scoring 30 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 8-for-8 from the foul line (he scored 32 on Oklahoma Wednesday night), to lead the Rainbow Warriors to third place at the Diamond Head Classic. The depth advantage for Eran Ganot’s team, which also received 21 and eight boards from Stefan Jankovic, is why they were able to close the game on a 19-4 run.
Horace Spencer and Tyler Harris both fouling out for Auburn, and Kareem Canty had to spend some time on the bench in the second half with four fouls. Canty led the Tigers 22 points, bouncing back from his 1-for-15 outing against Auburn, and Bryce Brown added 20.
BYU 84, Northern Iowa 76: Dave Rose’s Cougars picked up a quality win for their resume in the Diamond Head Classic’s fifth-place game, using a 19-2 first half run to establish the distance needed to hold off the Panthers. Chase Fischer scored 26 points, hitting four more three-pointers, and Kyle Collinsworth tallied 12 points, 17 rebounds and six assists to lead the way for BYU. UNI scored 24 points off of 15 BYU turnovers, but their inability to hit shots (40 percent from the field) when not benefitting from Cougar mistakes proved to be the difference.
Washington State 82, New Mexico 59: The Mountain West took another hit Christmas Day, as the Lobos were blown out by Washington State in the seventh place game at the Diamond Head Classic. Josh Hawkinson, who played just seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, scored 12 of his 19 in the second half and as a team Wazzu shot 54.2 percent from the field and 11-for-20 from three.
Hawkinson led five Cougars in double figures. After getting off to a good start to the season the Lobos once again struggled defensively and with turnovers, and they have many kinks to work out ahead of their Mountain West opener Wednesday night.
Buddy Hield and Jordan Woodard, Oklahoma: Hield and Woodard combined to score 62 points on 20-for-27 shooting from the field in their win over Harvard.
Zena Edosomwan, Harvard: Oklahoma did not have an answer for the Harvard big man, who tallied 25 points and 16 rebounds in a losing effort.
Chase Fischer, BYU: One game after hitting nine three-pointers Fischer hit four more, scoring 26 points in the Cougars’ win over Northern Iowa. Fischer shot 13-for-25 from three in wins over New Mexico and Northern Iowa.
Roderick Bobbitt, Hawai’i: Bobbitt shot extremely well in scoring 30 points in a win over Auburn, shooting 8-for-13 from the field and 8-for-8 from the foul line.
Cullen Neal, New Mexico: Things got so bad for the redshirt sophomore that he was benched for the entire second half in the Lobos’ loss to Washington State. In eight minutes Neal went scoreless and didn’t have an assist, committing five turnovers.
New Mexico’s three-point shooters: Neal wasn’t the only one who struggled, as the Lobos shot 0-for-10 from three on the day.
Patrick Steeves, Harvard: In 28 minutes off the bench Steeves made just one of his eight shots from the field, scoring two points.
Isaiah Cousins, Oklahoma: Cousins didn’t have the night teammates Hield and Woodard had, scoring seven points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Harvard point guard Siyani Chambers out for the season with torn ACL
Harvard senior point guard Siyani Chambers is taking a voluntary leave of absence and will be out for the 2015-16 season after tearing his ACL in workouts, according to a release.
Chambers has to leave school for the year because of Ivy League rules against athletic redshirts and will look to re-enroll for the 2016-17 academic year to finish out his college eligibility.
This is a huge loss for the Crimson as Chambers has been the lead guard behind a number of huge wins in the last three years. The 6-foot-0 native of Minnesota has averaged at least 34 minutes per game during all three years of college and put up 9.9 points, 4.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game last season.
Without Chambers, Harvard suddenly looks very inexperienced, especially in the backcourt. The Ivy League could be a wide open race now and the Crimson will have to fight to win the league’s regular season crown and NCAA tournament bid for the fifth consecutive season.
Harvard lands top 150 small forward in Class of 2016
Harvard landed a key commitment on Monday night as the Crimson pulled in a national top 150 caliber player. Ohio native and small forward Seth Towns committed to Harvard and the 6-foot-7 wing is a really nice grab for the Ivy League program.
Extremely excited to announce that I plan on furthering my education and basketball career at Harvard University 🙏🙏🙏#BlessedBeyondMeasure
A combo forward with the ability to play a bit inside as well as on the wing, getting Towns out of the Midwest is a nice grab for Harvard. Rivals rates Towns as the No. 125 overall prospect in the Class of 2016.
The Crimson now have commitments from Towns and 6-foot-8 power forward Chris Lewis. If head coach Tommy Amaker and his staff continue to get high-level players like this, they’ll continue to be a major threat in the Ivy League.
Harvard picked up a Class of 2016 point guard on Friday as California native Christian Juzang pledged to the Crimson.
The 6-foot-2 Juzang attends Viewpoint High School in Calabasas, California and plays on the grassroots circuit with Earl Watson Elite. Juzang’s commitment was announced on Twitter on the official athletics page of his high school.
Christian Juzang has decided to attend Harvard University in the fall of 2016 to play basketball pending their application process.
Through eight games in the Under Armour Association this spring, Juzang is averaging a team-leading 13.1 points per game to go along with 2 assists per contest. The guard is also shooting 40 percent from the field, 32 percent from 3-point range and 76 percent from the free-throw line.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – An hour before tipoff, there was no power inside Lavietes Pavilion.
That appeared to be an ominous sign for Harvard, which needed a win over Brown and a Yale loss to Dartmouth, on the final day of the regular season, in order to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
By 9:02 p.m., in a state of bliss, Harvard senior forward Jonah Travis laid motionless on the court staring directly up at the Lavietes’ lights.
After an agonizing 62 minutes of sitting and waiting, an improbable sequence of events resulted in Harvard and Yale sharing the Ivy League title (the fifth straight for the Crimson), meaning the two teams will square off next Saturday at The Palestra in Philadelphia for a trip to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
“Live to fight another day!” Travis told NBCSports.com.
“What’s the score?” Harvard’s Tommy Amaker asked reporters after the game, a rare instance in which a coach asks the first question during a press conference.
Two computers were streaming the game with the Bulldogs leading the Big Green 39-35 with 15:30 left in regulation. Amaker answered questions for 15 minutes before he exited the lounge that hangs above the far baseline of the arena.
Of course, not before he could get another update as he exited through the door.
“What do we got? What’s the score?” Amaker asked.
“49-46, Yale. 8:39 left,” he was told.
“Here we go,” Amaker said.
With less than 30 seconds in the game, Harvard was up 69-60 when reserve forward Evan Cummins was fouled after corralling a miss from Brown’s Tavon Blackmon. Cummins made his way to the line as the Harvard student section began chanting, “Let’s go Dartmouth!” At that point, it was halftime in Hanover with Yale leading 30-29.
“We were talking a little bit about [the Yale-Dartmouth game] on the bench,” Harvard senior forward Wesley Saunders said.
“Somebody heard the score. I guess someone in the crowd was keeping up with the game. It was like [the game] Telephone … passing the score along.”
Once in the locker room, players were quick to confirm the scores they had heard while on the bench, tracking the Yale-Dartmouth game on their phones. With a senior night reception scheduled at the nearby Murr Center Lounge, many of the players filed out of the gym with their eyes glued to their screens.
Several players chose to stay, watching the online stream along with two-dozen spectators, a far cry from the 2,195 fans that had packed the arena half an hour earlier.
By now, it’s 8:52 p.m. Yale has extended its lead to 57-52 with 35.2 left in regulation. Dartmouth freshman guard Miles Wright was fouled on the ensuing possession and went to the line shooting two.
“I can’t watch this,” shouts freshman guard Andre Chatfield, who left his spot at the scorer’s table and headed for the locker room.
Wright made both free throws, which cut the Yale lead to 57-54.
Chatfield came back to center court to hear that Dartmouth had forced a jump ball and re-gained possession. The 6-foot-4 freshman wanted to see what’s going on, but superstitious fans prohibited him from watching. Things have turned around since he walked away.
Chatfield and sophomore guard Matt Fraschilla stood together at midcourt, as Dartmouth took a 30-second timeout.
“Where’s my man, [Alex] Mitola?” asks Fraschilla.
“Is that your boy now?” a fan asks Fraschilla.
“I need him to be,” Fraschilla answers.
“Hey, if he can do it to us, why can’t he do it to them?” another fan says.
Mitola, Dartmouth’s leading scorer, went a perfect 10-for-10 from the line in the final two minutes to give the Big Green a 70-61 win over Harvard on Jan. 24. Everyone, in both gyms, knew he’d be the first option for Dartmouth.
Mitola wasn’t open on the flare screen, but Wright was coming off a pindown and tied the game with a 3-pointer.
With only two seconds remaining, Yale’s Javier Duren was fouled. At this point, Travis, one of two Harvard seniors still in the building, went and sat on the opposing team’s bench, by himself, hunched over, eyes glued to the gamecast app on his phone.
Duren split the pair. Yale is up 58-57.
On the ensuing inbound play, Wright, a former Division I quarterback prospect, heaved a two-handed pass, which is knocked out of bounds by Yale’s Justin Sears. The deflection by Sears puts Dartmouth in an ideal spot, under the Yale hoop with 1.9 seconds left.
Travis heard this, but refused to leave his spot, alone, on the bench.
Gabas Maldunas gave Dartmouth a 59-58 lead with 0.5 seconds to go. Maldunas still had a free throw to shoot, but once Travis realized Dartmouth had taken the lead, he sprinted to half court and jumped into the arms of Chatfield. In that moment of euphoria was a freshman experiencing his first taste of madness with a senior whose hopes of wearing the slipper in March one more time remained alive.
Travis outweighs Chatfield by 40 pounds, so that moment lasted briefly before they both went crashing to the ground. Literally floored by what had just transpired, Travis stared up at the ceiling. Senior forward Charlie Anastasi dove right next to him. Fraschilla jumped on top of him to give him a hug, but Travis’ eyes were still locked on the lights.
“You can only dream about a moment like this coming true,” Travis told NBCSports.com. “If he (Maldunas) wants to come down to Harvard we’ll make sure to throw a big party for him.”
It had been 62 minutes from the time Harvard had won its game until Dartmouth had completed the comeback against Yale. The coaching staff was out of sight shortly after Amaker’s press conference, and many of the players have been out of the arena for more than 30 minutes.
“Let’s go be with everyone,” said Anastasi, referring the senior night reception.
For the remaining members of the Harvard basketball team inside Lavietes Pavilion, it was officially time to party.
But next Saturday, at The Palestra in Philadelphia, the Crimson will find out if it’s time to dance.