It wasn’t quite as embarrassing as last year, but it came pretty close.
A year after trouncing the Harvard men’s basketball team by 44 points, BU used a 16-3 spurt to close out the first half en route to a commanding 92-55 victory over the Crimson at Lavietes Pavilion.
The Terriers’ junior tri-captain Shaun Wynn led his team with 19 points and had a perfect night from the field, shooting 5-for-5 from three point land and 6-for-6 overall.
Shooting proved to be the difference in the contest, as BU (5-1) hit a .563 field goal percentage, while Harvard (1-5) shot just .319.
“They certainly manhandled us in every way, shape and form tonight,” Crimson coach Frank Sullivan said. “Their backcourt played solid. They were unselfish, they guarded real well and they were very hard to guard.”
Harvard managed to hang around for most of the first half, but the game began to unravel in the final six minutes of the period.
With the Crimson trailing 28-20, Terriers tri-captain Rashad Bell hit two free throws, then cut to the basket on the ensuing possession, caught a pass from guard Bryan Geffen and powered home a monstrous two-hand dunk to extend the lead.
BU found itself up 44-23 heading into the break, and never looked back in the second half.
Bell, who finished with 17 points, also displayed key defensive skills. Five minutes into the game, Bell swatted a shot put up by Harvard captain Jason Norman into the first row of the stands, recording the first of two blocks on the night.
“They played great defense,” said Norman, who finished with eight points. “We shot the ball real poorly today. They were executing on the offensive end too, getting a lot of good looks.”
Midway through the first half, Bell had another key play, stealing the ball from freshman guard Tyler Klunick at the Terrier three-point line, dribbling all the way down the court and finishing with a low-key jam off two feet.
Sophomore center Brian Cusworth led the Crimson with 13 points, and has been the No. 1 scorer on the team in all six games this season.
Cusworth added nine rebounds, but was plagued by foul trouble. He played just 23 minutes and fouled out with nearly nine minutes remaining in the game.
The other half of the frontcourt, junior forward Matt Stehle, had a nearly identical night, scoring 12 points, grabbing nine rebounds and playing just 24 minutes because of foul trouble. Stehle fouled out with 1:35 to go.
Strong guard play by BU guards Chaz Carr and Wynn dictated the flow of the game. The Terriers had 18 assists and nine turnovers, while Harvard had an embarrassing 7-to-18 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The one bright spot for the Crimson was rebounding, as Harvard finished with a 43-31 advantage, including 26 offensive rebounds
“It was our best total rebounding game of the season,” Sullivan said. He was quick to add a caveat to his praise, however.
“We missed a lot of shots,” Sullivan said. “And the old coach will tell you that when you start missing shots, you become a good offensive rebounding team.”
Missing shots was one of the few things that the Crimson excelled at, shooting just 23-of-72 from the field.
In the end, Harvard’s most pressing flaw was its inability to slow down a faster opponent. BU feasted on the Crimson defense, thriving on back-cuts to create open layups and draw-and-kick schemes to set up open jumpers or three-pointers.
“We weren’t able to exert enough ball pressure on them to slow them down,” Sullivan said. “It was hard for us to get them in the halfcourt game.”
“This is the second year in a row that [BU] has beaten us like that,” Norman said. “It’s really discouraging.”