With the Harvard men’s basketball team’s season opener less than two weeks away, The Back Page is breaking down the Crimson’s non-conference opponents. Each week, we will take a look at two new foes. Earlier this week, we profiled Fordham. Next up is Boston College.
On Dec. 4, the Harvard men’s basketball team will make the short drive to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College. The Crimson’s victory over the Eagles last year marked the 1,000th win in program history. Harvard has won the last four contests against BC and looks to make it five in a row when the teams meet again this season.
Last year, the Eagles got a quick start and found themselves with an early 14-3 lead. But the Crimson stormed back thanks to strong perimeter shooting, going 10-of-20 from outside the arc. With a comfortable 40-33 lead at the half, Harvard ultimately took the game by a wide margin, winning 67-46.
Then-sophomore Laurent Rivard led the way for the Harvard offense, netting 18 points for Crimson. Senior Keith Wright tallied a team-high 11 rebounds, while junior Brandyn Curry paced Harvard with five steals in addition to 11 points.
The young BC team returns many of its starting core players. Last year’s Eagles squad featured 11 newcomers, five of whom started consistently throughout the season. But BC will still need a big game from key players if it hopes to end a four-year drought to its crosstown rival.
Last year as a freshman, center Dennis Clifford tallied a team-high 14 points against the Crimson. Clifford also led the Eagles in field goal percentage (.529) and blocks (29) on the season.
BC went on to go 9-22 last year, finishing 4-12 in conference play. The team was ousted by North Carolina State in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
This season, Clifford will look to provide offensive power alongside fellow sophomore Patrick Heckmann, who added 13 points for the Eagles in last year’s game against Harvard. Incoming freshmen Oliver Hanlan and Joe Rahon also look to provide strong backcourt support for BC this year.
A familiar face—this time on the opposing bench— will be Andrew Van Nest, who joined the BC squad this year after spending four seasons with the Crimson. Van Nest returns for his last year of eligibility after missing his entire freshman season at Harvard due to a torn rotator cuff.