Harvard coach Frank Sullivan will be the first to tell you that he puts some extra preparation into the Holy Cross and Boston University games.
After giving up 86 and 92 points to the Terriers (1-5) over the past two seasons, Sullivan focused on defense, throwing some relatively new zone looks at BU.
Sullivan implemented an extended 3-2 zone to engage the Terriers’ perimeter shooters and added a trap underneath to force quick decisions from the BU interior players.
The Terriers came out hot on a 14-5 run and continued to shoot well throughout the half, knocking down 62 percent of their attempts from the field.
But the Harvard zone forced eight BU turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, as the Crimson (5-2) recorded seven steals to stay within five, 37-32, at the break.
“We had some luck with the zone on the road against Sacred Heart and Holy Cross, and I think we’re starting to do a couple things well,” Sullivan said.
Harvard forced 17 Terrier turnovers on the night, but BU shot 53 percent from the field for the contest and 62 percent from three to overcome those mistakes for the 72-63 win.
“We just couldn’t guard tonight,” captain Matt Stehle said. “We were trying everything, and coach was trying everything. All the positions, one through five, no one shut down the man they were supposed to be guarding. We tried to switch it up [to the zone], and it didn’t really work too much.”reshman forward Evan Harris saw his first extensive action of the season and turned in a relatively strong performance.
The 6’8 rookie logged 14 minutes on the night—10 in the second half—and scored eight points to go along with seven rebounds. Five of those boards came on the offensive end and directly led to four of his points.
“It was good to get a little energy off the bench,” Stehle said. “He’s definitely going to be a good player some day.”
Harris matched junior forward Brian Darcy for the most minutes among the reserves vying for junior center Brian Cusworth’s spot in the rotation while he recovers from a fractured left hand.
“Evan Harris really helped us [in] the second half with the offensive rebounding,” Sullivan said. “I think each one [of Harris, Darcy and sophomore forward Brad Unger] contributed, and I’m really happy with the committee.”
Sullivan wouldn’t comment on the timetable for Cusworth’s return after the game, though from the indications given by the seven-footer after Monday’s practice, it would appear that Cusworth would be unlikely to start on Saturday against Lehigh.
Freshman guard Corey Hassan got off to a quick start for BU, nailing a three to start the game before connecting on a jumper and knocking down all three free throws for eight quick points to give the Terriers an 11-4 lead just over four minutes in.
Hassan finished 5-for-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from three for a team-high 17 points. His final three-pointer of the contest gave the Terriers a 60-49 lead with 7:46 remaining.
POINTS IN THE PAINT
Despite losing Cusworth, the Crimson still managed to out-rebound BU 39-38. Harvard pulled down a whopping 19 boards on the offensive end...Freshman point guard Drew Housman finished with a career-high five steals and tied a career high with five made field goals...The Crimson finished with its first assist-to-turnover ratio of one or above on the season, dishing out exactly as many helpers (10) as giveaways on the night...Harvard held the lead just once on the contest at 30-28, but a three-pointer by Terriers guard Shaun Wynn grabbed the lead back for good just 31 seconds later.
—Staff writer Michael R. James can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.