In the last Ivy League game of their careers, Harvard men’s basketball co-captain Laurent Rivard and Brown tri-captain Sean McGonagill reminded their squads why they recruited them all those years ago.
With 40 seconds remaining in Saturday night’s overtime contest, Crimson sophomore point guard Siyani Chambers held the ball at midcourt, dribbling out the shot clock. His team had a two-point lead, with NCAA Tournament seeding on the line.
The shot clock hit six as Chambers found a streaking Rivard near the top of the key. The senior wasted no time, hitting a dagger from behind the arc to make it a two-possession game, 94-89. The basket all-but sealed the victory, and only a few possessions later, Harvard (26-4, 13-1 Ivy) walked out of the Pizzitola Sports Center with the 98-93 win over the Bears (15-13, 7-7).
“I thought Laurent’s three…was a big one,” Crimson coach Tommy Amaker said. “It was a designed play for him, and it was awesome to see him step forward and just bury that shot.”
Rivard credited junior forward Steve Moundou-Missi’s off-ball screen as key in getting the defender off his back and enabling him to hit the open shot.
“I thought [my defender] would be trailing me a little more,” Rivard said. “I was focused on just getting it up. I knew he wasn’t right on me, so I knew it would be a good shot.”
The three was Rivard’s fourth on a night in which he shot 53 percent from the field, going 4-of-8 from deep. Perhaps more importantly for Rivard, his final bucket of the game moved him past former Princeton guard Brian Earl for second all-time in the Ancient Eight in made three-pointers with 282.
Rivard’s performance from deep spanned the duration of the game, as an Agent Zero three began the evening’s festivities. Thirty seconds into the contest, Rivard ran a give-and-go with junior wing Wesley Saunders, and the end result was a 3-0 lead for the visiting squad.
McGonagill, however, was not to be outdone.
With 17 seconds to go in the extra period, Brown’s leading scorer drilled a trey of his own, bringing his team back within two.
The basket was McGonagill’s fifth three and 26th point of the night, marking the fifth time this season that he tallied at least five three-pointers in a single game.
One day after shooting 75 percent from the field at Yale, Moundou-Missi was at it again. The forward shot 6-of-10 from the floor and 9-of-12 from the line en route to a team-high 21 points on Saturday night.
Just as Rivard’s hot shooting from deep spanned the game, so too did Moundou-Missi dominate inside all night. With just over a minute gone by in the first half, Saunders found his classmate on the low box. Moundou-Missi laid the ball into the hoop and drew contact, earning a three-point play the old fashioned way.