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Last night at Lavietes Pavilion, the Harvard men's basketball team began its second semester with a second-half domination, pulling away from Lehigh with a 74-58 victory.
After slogging through a first half in which Harvard shot 28 percent from the field and found itself tied with Lehigh at 27-27, the Crimson scored eight unanswered points to open up a 45-37 lead with 10:44 left to play. The Mountain Hawks did manage to narrow the margin to two, but Harvard responded with a 14-2 surge that sealed the game's fate.
The big story of the game for the Crimson (10-6, 3-1 Ivy) was senior Kyle Snowden who led his team with 21 points and 16 rebounds, the eighth of which broke Harvard's career record, formerly held by Ron Mitchell'92 (803 total rebounds). He and senior center Chris Grancio (15 points, 11 rebounds) made over half of the Crimson's baskets, picking up for a backcourt that never consistently hit shots from the outside.
"I think we sort of shook the cobwebs out in the second half," Snowden said. "The most important thing is learning from this game and playing well this weekend."
Harvard resumes its Ivy league schedule on Friday and Saturday nights when it hosts Brown and Yale, respectively.
Last night's game was the team's first after a two-week respite for exams, and in the first half, it showed. The Crimson stifled the Mountain Hawks' leading scorer, Brett Eppehimer, holding him to zero first-half points, but teammate Dan Handerhan tallied 16 and Vinnie McCaffery hit two three-pointers. Harvard also had no first-half points from its bench, and sophomore point guard Tim Hill could only hit two out of his first 10 shots.
"For us, the story of the game was getting into the flow," Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. "Whenever you take two weeks off [it hurts something]. For us, it manifested itself in the form of shooting."
What helped the Crimson, however, was aided by 17 Mountain Hawk turnovers, many of which were of the unforced variety. Lehigh also had its troubles shooting the ball, finishing at 39.6 percent from the field for the game.
For the first 26 minutes of the game, all these factors pretty much canceled out, and the two teams were tied at 37. However, Harvard then began to start making shots, as Grancio, Hill and junior Mike Scott (14 points) combined to give the Crimson and eight-point lead that it never relinquished.
Harvard also took advantage of Lehigh's tendency to foul, making 15 out of 18 free throws in the second half.
"We tried to get the ball inside," Hill said. "We knew that they were foulprone, but it's always our strategy to bring the ball inside and then go outside."
With six minutes to go, a Snowden lay up put Harvard up by 14, and the Crimson coasted from there to the victory.
Ron Mitchell'92 was in attendance at the game last night--he currently attends the Harvard Business School. According to Snowden, he began to realize quickly that his record was in jeopardy.
"He came in during halftime and shook my hand. Last year, he was a little bit upset, because I was on pace to break his record," Snowden quipped.
Snowden is also high up on the alltime school scoring leaders, passing Keith Sedlacek '66 with his 21 last night to go into seventh place with 1,268 points. Next up is Bob Ferry'85 (1,351) and Mitchell (1,455).
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