Basketball Notebook: Shooting the Lights Out
The Crimson men's basketball team learned to spread the scoring wealth against the Terriers last night.
Crimson foes of the past have always keyed upon covering forward captain Dan Clemente to shut down the Crimson offense. Harvard challenged that assumption against Boston University.
Harvard finished the game with four starters scoring in double digits, as the Crimson showed that double-teaming Clemente on every play will result in open shots for the rest of the team.
"I thought the ball was distributed pretty well today," said Harvard Head Coach Frank Sullivan. "I think our guys have done pretty well the last two games adjusting to the possibility of Dan being short-circuited by the defense."
The most surprising output came from sophomore point-guard Elliot Prasse-Freeman. Known more as a distributor than a shooter, Prasse-Freeman scored 15 points in the first half to give the Crimson an 18-point halftime lead. After Clemente converted two three-pointers early but then cooled, Prasse-Freeman looked to shoot rather than pass, converting five-of-six from behind the arc in the first half.
Ever-consistent sophomore guard Patrick Harvey once again led the team in scoring with 17 points, his average through the first four games of the season, converting on clutch jumpers and free-throws down the stretch to reverse the Terrier momentum in the second half.
These second and third outlets of the offense will make opponents think twice about guarding only Clemente.
Three-pointers: the Crimson's lifeline
"[B.U.]'s three-point field goal percentage defense was very, very strong," Sullivan said. "We tried to convince our kids that it was going to be hard to get shots. When it started to happen, everyone was a little bit surprised."
Prasse-Freeman, who made his first four three-pointers, felt so confident that he took a shot from about six-feet beyond the arc. Though he missed this shot, he ended the half with another three-pointer to send the team into halftime with a huge, seemingly insurmountable lead.
"The threes gave us unusual, yet really intense energy and enthusiasm," Sullivan said.
However, the Crimson was unable to sustain its shooting groove deep into the second half. After going up by 26 just three minutes into the second half, the Crimson's hot hands went cold, as the outside sharpshooters missed seven three-pointers in the second half. This reliance on the outside shot, coupled with the Crimson's inability to break the full-court press of the Terriers, enabled B.U. to close within eight before Harvard pulled away.
Free-Throws: Clutch Down the Stretch
Harvard also benefited from B.U.'s poor free-throw shooting in the first half, as the Terriers missed five-of-nine from the line in the half. If the Terriers had continued with the 73 percent free-throw shooting they had before tonight, then B.U. could have closed the gap down to five points or less near the end of the game.
Congratulations Coach Sullivan
Sullivan is beginning his tenth season at the helm of the basketball program and has compiled a 100-140 mark while at Harvard.