No. 25 Harvard is a team expected by many to win the Ivy League outright for a fourth consecutive year, and having won an NCAA tournament game in each of their last two appearances the Crimson are also seen as a team that could accomplish said feat for a third consecutive year.
Well, there may be a need to pump the brakes on the “Harvard should once again win the Ivy League” chatter.
Harvard struggled Sunday evening in their matchup with Holy Cross, committing 22 turnovers and falling to the Crusaders 58-57 in Boston. Milan Brown’s team, which was picked to finish third in the Patriot League preseason poll, got after Harvard defensively and kept the Crimson from getting comfortable on that end of the floor.
And from an individual standpoint, senior guard Justin Burrell outplayed Harvard point guard Siyani Chambers. Burrell finished the game with 16 points and four assists and was the best guard on the floor, with Chambers accounting for just one point (0-for-3 FG), four assists and a staggering eight turnovers.
To put Chambers’ turnover count into context, Chambers committed more than four turnovers in a game just twice in 2013-14.
While Harvard finished the game with just one player in double figures, Wesley Saunders (24 points, 12 rebounds and four assists), Holy Cross had balance on the offensive end of the floor as Eric Green and Malcolm Miller joined Burrell with 12 points apiece. There’s no denying that Chambers is one of the most important players in the country this season, as when he plays well Harvard is a much better team offensively as his teammates get looks in areas where they’re most likely to enjoy success.
Discussions as to why Chambers is so important tend to focus on Harvard’s lack of an option behind him, but how well he plays is just as critical for the Crimson. Thanks to Justin Burrell and Holy Cross the junior point guard struggled, resulting in Harvard’s first loss of the season.