Men's Basketball Preview: Dartmouth

Published by David Freed on January 22, 2015 at 1:41AM
Filling In

Filling in for the injured Kenyatta Smith, sophomore forward Zena Edosomwan had 13 points and eight rebounds on Tuesday.

The Harvard men’s basketball team (11-4, 1-0 Ivy) closed nonconference play with a 66-57 victory over Bryant on Tuesday night. After playing six of its previous seven games on the road, the Crimson will return home to Lavietes Pavilion to take on Dartmouth (7-8, 0-1 Ivy) Saturday afternoon. Below, The Back Page takes a look at the three main things to keep your eye on as Harvard looks to maintain its perfect home record.

Is Zena Ready?

How things turn. After barely leaving the bench in an overtime loss to Boston College, sophomore Zena Edosomwan got the first meaningful start of his career against the Bulldogs. With 13 points and eight rebounds in just 24 minutes, the Los Angeles native delivered. After a rocky start, Edosomwan had four points and four rebounds in the Crimson’s 8-0 run that clinched the victory.

Although he cannot match senior center Kenyatta Smith’s contributions on the defensive end—the sophomore is a better rebounder but a vastly inferior shot blocker—Edosomwan stands a good chance at matching the senior’s contributions due to his offensive prowess. While he is a black hole on this end of the floor (29.0 percent usage rate, 1.7 percent assist rate), he does a good job getting to the line and rarely turns the ball over. His post game has improved dramatically (43.9 percent effective field goal percentage in 2013-2014), and he is by far the team’s best offensive rebounding threat.

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Men's Basketball Lands Top-50 Recruit

Published by David Freed on January 20, 2015 at 11:07PM
Amaker Recruiting

Chris Lewis, the Crimson's first commitment from the Class of 2016, has made the decision to play for Harvard coach Tommy Amaker's squad.

Four days after a dispiriting loss to Boston College, the Harvard men’s basketball team (10-4, 1-0 Ivy) scored what may be its biggest win of the season Sunday afternoon with a commitment from high school junior Chris Lewis. The Alpharetta, Ga. native, ESPN’s 44th-ranked recruit in the Class of 2016, is the highest-ranked recruit ever to commit to the university. It is the Crimson’s first commitment from the Class of 2016.

“I have been considering [going to Harvard] for a while,” Lewis told future150.com. “My idea was to commit when I went up there [for a visit]. I just had to get a few things answered, while I was up there before I committed.”

Lewis first achieved national recognition as an eighth grader, when he received two Division I offers—from perennial NCAA Tournament teams Memphis and New Mexico—before setting foot on a high school campus.

Since arriving at Milton High School, the hype around Lewis has continued to grow. According to ESPN, he received offers from 15 different Division I schools before committing to the Crimson. Lewis, whose father—Mo Lewis—played 13 years as a linebacker in the NFL for the New York Jets, is averaging 16.1 points a game for his 10-8 squad.

In the interview with futue150.com, Lewis acknowledged that he committed to the Crimson with other potential teammates in mind.

“Harvard is looking at a couple of other prospects that I hope will be able to commit to Harvard along with me,” Lewis said.

Although nothing has been finalized, reports have connected Harvard with Class of 2016 recruits Seth Towns and Quentin Jackson.

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Men's Basketball Preview: Bryant

Published by David Freed on January 20, 2015 at 10:58PM
STEVE-O

Senior forward Steve Moundou-Missi heads into Tuesday's matchup with Bryant averaging 7.7 points and 6.8 boards per game.

The Harvard men’s basketball team (10-4, 1-0 Ivy) stumbled for the first time in seven games against Boston College Wednesday, falling to 3-4 away from home so far this season. The Crimson will take the road again in its final nonconference matchup of the season Tuesday night against Bryant (8-7, 5-1 Northeast). Below, The Back Page takes a look at the three main things to keep your eye on.

Stopping the Bleeding

The Crimson’s back-to-back losses on the road to Virginia and Arizona State earlier this season were a significant anomaly. Harvard has lost back-to-back games only four times since 2009-10, and in that period boasts a 127-39 record that is good for 13th-best in the country. In both of the most recent cases, both losses came on the road, where Harvard has played its biggest games of the Amaker era (Memphis, California, Virginia, etc.). When Harvard travels to the Chase Atlantic Center, look for the proud, veteran-laden Crimson to quash any thought of a second two-game slide early.

Jumpstarting the Offense 

Against Bryant, a team Harvard trounced by 18 points last year in a game that was rarely that close, the Crimson will turn to its two best seniors—wing Wesley Saunders and co-captain Steve Moundou-Missi—to jumpstart a struggling offense that has put up four sub-20 point halves in its last five road games.

While the two combined for 48 points in last year’s contest against Bryant, they have yet to crack 40 combined points in any contest this year. After an unconscious first month of play, Saunders has faded, shooting just 36 percent and averaging more than three turnovers a game since the team broke for finals. Moundou-Missi’s difficulties have been a constant all season. He has scored in double digits in just three of 14 contests after doing so in 16 of 32 games last year. His shooting has taken a deeper dive to 39.3 percent—nearly 15 percent worse than last year.

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Men's Hockey Maintains No. 4/4 Ranking

Published by Michael D. Ledecky on January 20, 2015 at 9:19PM
Criscuolo

Junior co-captain Kyle Criscuolo had two goals and an assist for the Crimson over the weekend.

Despite a 5-1 loss at home to St. Lawrence this weekend, the Harvard men’s ice hockey team retained its No. 4 ranking in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey national polls on Monday.

The Crimson (11-3-2, 7-2-2 ECAC) took a big hit in the first place vote column, with only one brave voter (Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold? Donato?) listing the team at No. 1. That’s down from five votes last week and 15/13 votes one week prior. Harvard also fell to No. 6 in the KRACH and No. 7 in the PairWise rankings.

Nevertheless, voters generally gave the Crimson the benefit of the doubt, perhaps given the team’s undermanned lineup and strong performance against Clarkson on Friday.

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Men's Hockey Preview: Clarkson and St. Lawrence

Published by Kurt T. Bullard on January 16, 2015 at 2:50PM
Moy Goals, More Problems

Sophomore Tyler Moy and the rest of the No. 4/4 Harvard men's hockey team prepare to resume conference play this Friday against Clarkson.

After a humbling loss to archrival Yale, the No. 4/4 Harvard men’s ice hockey team (10-2-2, 6-1-2 ECAC) will look to rebound as it resumes conference play at the Bright-Landry Center this weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence.

The Stakes at Hand

While Harvard sits in second place in the ECAC, Clarkson (7-10-4, 4-3-2) and St. Lawrence (9-10-2, 5-4-0) lurk closely behind, as both squads are tied for fourth place in the conference. While the Crimson cannot surpass No. 12/12 Quinnipiac this weekend to move into first, the team is in danger of sliding down if it doesn’t come away from the weekend with at least one point.

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