ATLANTA--The Harvard men's basketball team split its holiday schedule with a 2-2 record, including a loss at ACC powerhouse Georgia Tech.
Harvard (6-5, 1-0 Ivy) scored victories over Vermont (4-4) and Mercer (5-6), but fell facing tougher competition at Georgia Tech (8-3) and Navy (7-5).
Senior forward Dan Clemente was named Ivy League Player of the Week for the period ending January 1st. In the Crimson's first three games, Clemente averaged 24.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
One game above .500, Harvard is currently the only Ivy League team with a winning record. The Crimson travels to Hanover, N.H. tomorrow to face
Dartmouth in a matinee match. At home in December, Harvard defeated the Big Green in a thrilling come-from-behind victory, 79-78.
Navy 93, Harvard 60
Navy took a commanding 44-23 lead into the locker room at halftime on the
strength of a 16-0 run late in the first half. The Crimson managed just two points in the final 9:32 before the break.
Harvard pulled to within 15 twice in the second half but could never get much closer.
Even though the Midshipmen led for most of the night, a pair of Crimson players still managed record-setting or personal-best performances.
Sophomore center Onnie Mayshak led the Crimson in scoring with a
career-high 14 points, and grabbed eight rebounds while shooting 7-for-11 from the floor.
Clemente grabbed 12 points, enough to move him to 11th on the Crimson's all-time scoring list with 1,213. He will have a chance to move into the tenth spot tomorrow. James Brown '73 holds that honor with 1,240 points.
Harvard 65, Mercer 51
Mercer, 65-51, on the road in Porter Gym. He led the Crimson with 30 points, shot 10-of-19 from the floor and added five from the beyond the arc.
Sophomore guard Patrick Harvey added 13 points while fellow sophomore point guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman just missed a double-double.
Prasse-Freeman netted 11 points while handing out nine assists in a winning
cause. He was kept off the scoreboard in the first half but came back to score
all his points after the break. He also grabbed nine rebounds.
As a team, the Crimson continued to shoot well from beyond the arc. Harvard shot 47.1 percent on three-point attempts. That was even a better
average than from the floor, where the team shot 44.6 percent. Following the game, Harvard was averaging just less than nine three-pointers made per page for the season.
Georgia Tech 90, Harvard 59
On Dec. 28, Harvard traveled down South to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum at the McDonald's Center in Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-3) for the first meeting ever between the two teams.
It was a matchup between the Ivy League and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)-the conference known foremost for its academics versus arguably the best in basketball.
Despite a strong first-half showing, the Crimson was unable to keep up with the much taller and faster Yellow Jackets. In its last non-conference game of the season, Tech prevailed, 90-59.
"OK, here's my opening statement," Harvard Coach Frank Sullivan
said. "I hereby declare Georgia Tech ready for ACC play."
Harvard looked tentative and slow at the beginning of the contest, quickly falling behind 17-5. Things looked even worse as star senior Dan Clemente gained two fouls within the first five minutes of the game.
However, once Tech was hit with a couple offensive fouls and the Crimson settled into a rhythm, Harvard regrouped and posted a 12-1 run, sparked by a three-pointer by sophomore P.J. Harvey seven minutes into the game.
It was a new game after back-to-back lay-ups from Harvey and fellow sophomore Andrew Gellert pushed the game to a 24-24 tie with 8:28 remaining in the half.
But that was the closest Harvard would get to the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech turned its game up a notch, taking advantage of its
tremendous height advantage by blocking Harvard's shots and pulling
down a vast majority of the rebounds.
In the first half alone, Tech
out-rebounded the Crimson 31-13. At halftime, the Yellow Jackets had achieved a comfortable 43-30 lead.
"A shot-blocking experience like that is something we aren't going to
run into very often," Sullivan said. "[Alvin] Jones was the catalyst. We
don't see monster shot-blocking like that in the Ivy League."
The 6'11 Jones did have his way with the Crimson, scoring 13 points,
grabbing 15 rebounds, and blocking eight shots. His total of 15
rebounds was his best since he pulled down 15 in a 64-61 overtime loss to
Stanford in 1999. Tony Akins led Tech with 19 points, going 5-for-6 behind the three-point line, and freshman Marvin Lewis scored 17.
The second half was all Georgia Tech, as the Jackets opened with a 8-0
Run and never looked back. Harvard's first basket came five minutes into
The second half with a lay-up by sophomore Elliot Prasse-Freeman.
With center Onnie Mayshak--who finished the game with one point--stifled underneath the basket, Harvard had to rely on its outside game.
Shooting better than forty-three percent from three-point territory before the contest, Harvard was held to 5-for-21 from three-point range.
The Crimson field goal shooting percentage was 30.1, significantly lower than its season-long percentage of 49.7 leading up to this contest.
"I thought we did a good job of executing our defensive plan," Georgia
Tech Coach Paul Hewitt said. "[Harvard] is an excellent three-point
Clemente led the Crimson with nine rebounds and 19 points, despite
connecting on only 6-of-21 from the field, and Harvey added thirteen
points, eleven of which were scored in the first half.
The Harvard-Georgia Tech matchup was not the first Ivy-ACC matchup of the season. Last Saturday, Virginia defeated Dartmouth,102-56, and Duke blew out Princeton, 87-50, earlier this season. Harvard's loss to Tech was the closest margin of the Ivy-ACC contests.
Harvard 89, Vermont 71
Clemente led the Crimson in scoring with 24 points, and brought down a career-high 12 rebounds. He bucketed 19 of his points in the second
half after a cool start.
With his assistance, the Crimson went on 18-7 run to start to the
second half, breaking open what was a close 39-37 game at the half and taking a 57-44 lead.
Vermont clawed back to within eight with just under eight minutes to
play, but Clemente rattled in the next six points in a span of only 31 seconds to ice the game for the Crimson.
Harvey netted 16 points, while his backcourt teammate Prasse-Freeman just missed another double-double, scoring 14 and adding eight assists.
Sophomore center Brian Sigafoos got the most action he had seen all season, scoring 12 points and hauling in seven boards, both career-highs. Junior guard Andrew Gellert rounded out the Crimson's scorers in double figures with 10 points.
The Catamounts vaulted to an early 14-4 lead before Sullivan responded with a full-court press that stopped the Vermont onslaught.
Harvard took its first lead of the night, 32-31, with 3:31 remaining in the
first half. After a Vermont basket, Harvey gave Harvard a 34-33 lead
that the Crimson never relinquished.