SPOKANE, Wash.— What comes after a fairy tale?
It turns out, for the Harvard men’s basketball team (27-4, 13-1 Ivy), Cinderella can lose a second glass slipper.
With less than five minutes left in Thursday’s NCAA Tournament contest against Cincinnati (27-7, 15-3 American Athletic Conference) and Harvard up by three, Crimson junior wing Wesley Saunders ran a give-and-go with sophomore point guard Siyani Chambers. Saunders took a couple dribbles through the lane, spun, and put up the shot.
Saunders’ trademark fadeaway was good, but so was the subsequent shot taken by Cincinnati co-captain Sean Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick received the ball feet away from the top of the key and drilled a long two-pointer, bringing the deficit back to one possession.
Two possessions later, a pair of Bearcat shots from the free throw stripe cut the Crimson lead to one for the first time since the opening half.
But then Chambers remembered what it was like to celebrate an NCAA Tournament win. And then he delivered.
Co-captain Brandyn Curry received a handoff from Saunders with about 10 seconds left on the shot clock and 2:05 remaining overall. Curry sent it to Chambers, who received the rock near the left wing, dribbled several times, and ended up at the free-throw line. Chambers rose up and buried the shot.
Head to Head: How Harvard and Cincinnati Match UpBoth teams’ hopes rest on their respective stars being able to shut down the other while continuing to contribute on the offensive end. Harvard and Cincinnati are just 11-8 when their stars make less than 35 percent of their shots, and a combined 42-2 otherwise.
Confident Crimson Ready For the SpotlightNow, as it enters its opening game in the NCAA tournament Thursday afternoon against Cincinnati (27-6, 15-3 American Athletic Conference), Harvard has a chance to re-assume the exciting identity of the underdog—and relief has given way to a different feeling.
March Madness in Orange CountyDressed in a Harvard jersey and hat, I received some inquisitive stares as I flagged down one of the bartenders and asked if she could possibly put the Harvard game on. Figuring this might be a long and lonely two hours, I settled in to watch Harvard take an early lead.