M. Hoops Drubs Dartmouth
Gellert breaks career steals record in victory
One of Harvey’s five three-pointers staked Harvard (9-5, 2-0 Ivy) to an early 16-3 advantage 8:38 into the game, but the Crimson tried not to become overconfident.
“We knew we weren’t going to roll over [Dartmouth], but we knew if we kept leaning on them they eventually wouldn’t have any runs left in them,” junior guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman said.
The Big Green (6-7, 0-2 Ivy) did manage to claw its way back from its early hole, as two Brendan Herbert free throws and a Flinder Boyd layup drew Dartmouth within two with 2:01 to go in the first half. Prasse-Freeman then drained a trifecta after a Big Green turnover to send Harvard into the locker room with a 34-29 advantage.
Coming out of the break, Dartmouth’s Mike McLaren hit a three-pointer to pull the Big Green back within a pair, but an 11-2 Harvard run put the Crimson up 45-34 with 17:23 to go.
After that, Harvard held Dartmouth’s streaky shooters in check. The Crimson forced 18 Big Green turnovers, topping its own Ivy-leading average of 8.7 steals per game with 10 in the process.
Essential to the Crimson triumph was its abilty to contain Boyd, Dartmouth’s point guard. Gellert, who had also gotten the better of the Dartmouth star last month, keeping him to 7 points (all in the second half) in Harvard’s 70-53 victory over the Big Green at Lavietes, spearheaded the effort.
“Same time, same winner,” junior Brady Merchant said of the matchup between the two senior captains.
Gellert held Boyd to 15 largely insignificant points and hounded him into committing four turnovers against only three assists.
“He didn’t let him get into any flow,” Prasse-Freeman said.
Gellert’s stifling defense was aided by the Harvard big men, especially junior center Brian Sigafoos, who hedged on Dartmouth screens to prevent Boyd from penetrating into the lane and creating opportunities for his teammates.
Of course, in the process of shutting Boyd down, Gellert collected five steals of his own, giving him 216 for his career and breaking the school record of 213 set by Mike Gielen ‘89. It was Gellert’s twentieth consecutive game with at least one steal; in fact, he has failed to commit one larceny in only one of his last 68 contests.
His teammates, though, marvel more at Gellert’s talent as a team defender than at his individual records.
‘The thing that makes Drew so impressive as a defensive player is that [by pressuring the ball-handler] he creates steals for the rest of us,” Prasse-Freeman said. “His defensive prowess is not even encapsulated in the steals statistic.”
Also key to the Crimson’s defensive effort was junior forward Sam Winter, who controlled the Big Green’s second scoring option, Charles Harris, while chipping in 17 points of his own.
The big offensive producer for Harvard, though, was Harvey, who took advantage of Dartmouth’s defensive confusion to have a career night.
Prasse-Freeman also added 11 points and narrowly missed a triple-double with seven assists and eight rebounds, while Gellert chipped in nine points and eight assists on his record-setting night.
The win was the Crimson’s sixth straight over the Big Green, matching its best stretch against its early-season Ivy foe since 1982.
Now Harvard begins preparations for next weekend when it hosts perennial Ivy powerhouses Princeton, whose 4-7 mark against tough competition belies its overall talent, and 8-3 Penn. By managing just a split this weekend, the Crimson will set a school record with its seventh consecutive campaign with a double-digit win total.
Harvard, though, isn’t looking for a split. Its goal is simply to topple the Killer P’s and turn the Ivy hierarchy on its head.