NOTEBOOK: Crimson Tops BCS Foe For Fourth Straight Year

Another year, and another BCS conference team falls to the Harvard men’s basketball squad.

For the fourth straight season, the Crimson took down a school from a power conference, this time beating Colorado at Lavietes Pavilion yesterday, 82-66.

“[It was] a very good win, a statement win, a program-building kind of win for us,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said.

In the prior two seasons, Harvard has beaten ACC member Boston College on the road, 74-67 in 2009-10 and 82-70 in 2008-09. In 2007-08, the Crimson beat Michigan of the Big Ten at home, 62-51.

“We just see [these games] as opportunities,” junior co-captain Oliver McNally said. “You see the name on the front of their chest, and there’s a little fear in you because you’re playing a bigger school. But all that does is just make you clamp down and just be ready.”

Yesterday’s win—the most one-sided victory of the bunch—was the program’s first against a school from the Big 12. Under Amaker, Harvard is 4-5 against schools from the BCS conferences.

“We’ve been fortunate, lucky in some cases,” Amaker said. “We’ve had some moments thus far...in our tenure here to be able to knock off some, quote unquote, BCS conference teams.”

The Crimson will play David to the power conference’s Goliath three more times this year. It travels to Michigan next Saturday, to UConn on Dec. 22, and to BC on Jan. 5.

“It certainly gives us a great sense of confidence that we can match up and suit up...against teams from that level and obviously have some success,” Amaker said.

GO BIG OR GO HOME

While junior co-captain Keith Wright was unquestionably the anchor of Harvard’s frontcourt, the Crimson relied on a few other big men to rotate in and provide valuable minutes, especially as fouls began to accrue in the second half.

Playing in just his second game after recovering from a broken foot, sophomore forward Kyle Casey played 13 minutes, providing a spark particularly on the defensive end, where he contributed two blocks and a steal.

“He’s coming [along],” Amaker said. “[He’s] not nearly where we’d like for him to be, but it’s a process.”

The sophomore’s biggest play came toward the end of the second half, when he skied in the paint to swat a floater by Buffalo guard Alec Burks. But seconds later, Casey committed a foul on Burks—a fitting outcome for a game in which Casey fouled out.

“We’re just working him back into the offense. He’s definitely going to play more as his foot continues to get better,” Wright said. “He’s showing a lot of maturity given the situation he’s in. He’s definitely helping the team a lot.”

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