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At Last! Harvard Takes Down Penn

By Zachary T. Ball

In what was the most inspiring Harvard victory in recent memory, the men's basketball team came out on top of a 76-67 overtime war against Penn (10-13,6-5 Ivy) on Saturday, for the team's first victory over the Quakers since 1991.

Harvard (15-9, 8-4 Ivy) fought back from a 14 point second-half deficit to cut the Penn lead to two with 56 seconds remaining in regulation on the strength of 25 secondhalf points by the interior tandem of seniors Kyle Snowden and Chris Grancio, who scored a career high 26 points.

That set the stage for sophomore guard Tim Hill's fade-away 18-footer from the left wing with three ticks on the clock to tie the game and send it to an extra session.

In overtime, Harvard went back to Grancio and Snowden on the post to gain the early advantage, then converted on its last nine free-throw attempts to secure the victory and the celebration began.

"This is definitely the greatest moment since I've been here," said Snowden, who came up big with 19 points and 16 rebounds in his last home game for Harvard.

The Crimson jumped out to an early lead on balanced scoring and poor shooting by the Quakers, who started the night 2-for-9 from the floor.

Harvard led by as many as seven in the early-going before the Quakers caught up on a Matt Langel three-pointer to put Penn up 19-17 at the 7:27 mark in the first half, a lead Harvard would not regain until overtime.

But in an all-too-familiar development, as Penn got on track offensively, Harvard showed signs of collapse.

As the Quaker's warmed up, the Crimson defense relaxed, and Harvard abandoned its advantage in the interior.

During one six-minute stretch in the middle of the first half, Penn scored 17 unanswered points while Harvard went 0-for-9. For six straight possessions, Harvard failed to move the ball into the paint at all and settled for quick outside jumpers.

The end result was that Harvard entered the locker room down 11, at 32-21, despite its strong start. The Crimson appeared ready to fold.

"The [first] half was very frustrating. I felt like we never had them under control," Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. "I felt we couldn't make shots or defensive plays."

But in the second half, the Crimson offense stuck consistently to its game plan, and the defense finally came around enough to give Harvard a chance down the stretch.

"Our offense is generated from the inside," Snowden said. "At halftime coach [Sullivan] demanded that the ball go inside first, before taking an outside shot."

Still Harvard struggled early in the second period. Penn made four of its first five shots, all of them lay ups or open jumpers in the paint, and led by as many as 14.

But the Crimson's offense continued to score early and often, and when the Quaker's shooting hit a cold steak, going 1-for-11 over a seven-minute period, Harvard made its move.

"We got down 13 or 14, and the guys just decided we can't lose this one, senior David Weaver said. "It was very satisfying. This team is tired of losing to teams less talented than us."

Grancio and Snowden notched 23 of the Crimson's first 29 points in the second half while the outside shooting continued to struggle (0-for-7 on second-half three-pointers).

Despite Harvard's perimeter shooting woes, Penn continued to play straight-up man-to-man defense and did not double-team on Snowden or Grancio as the two scored almost at will against Penn's inexperienced underclassmen post players.

"I'm surprised that [Penn] let [Grancio and Snowden] go one-on-one with their freshmen, Weaver said. "Kyle ate them up inside, and we all fed off that."

Penn coaches made no apology for the defensive scheme and gave credit to the Harvard team.

"We were hoping to play solidly defensively", Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "We were a little worn down after [Friday night at Dartmouth], and we knew we were in for a tough night."

But while it was Snowden and Grancio who pulled Harvard to within reach, the Crimson's last four buckets in regulation came from guard tandem of sophomore Tim Hill and senior David Demian.

Demian made two jumpers in the final two minutes to allow Harvard to set up one final play to tie.

Hill and Snowden worked an isolation play on the left wing, but Penn effectively denied the interior feed and forced Hill to create his own shot as time expired.

"Our first look was inside, but Penn did a great job defensively, so Tim had to take the shot, and fortunately, it dropped," Sullivan said.

Garett Kreitz led the Quakers with 20 points, including four three-pointers.

The win exorcises one of the last remaining ghosts haunting Harvard's Ivy League stature, and sets the team on course to finish second in the Ivies for the first time in almost anyone's memory.

Despite a 14-9 record, the Crimson had been soundly defeated in all three of its previous games against Penn and Princeton, including two big losses during an embarrassing road trip this February. But Saturday, Harvard finally proved it could play with the big boys.

"Our players thought we should be in the upper half of the Ivy League and thought they could play with Penn and Princeton," Sullivan said. "They wanted to prove that tonight."CrimsonDavid S. TangIt's party time at Lavietes Pavilion, as Harvard knocks off Penn and stays tied for second in Ivy League play.

"The [first] half was very frustrating. I felt like we never had them under control," Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. "I felt we couldn't make shots or defensive plays."

But in the second half, the Crimson offense stuck consistently to its game plan, and the defense finally came around enough to give Harvard a chance down the stretch.

"Our offense is generated from the inside," Snowden said. "At halftime coach [Sullivan] demanded that the ball go inside first, before taking an outside shot."

Still Harvard struggled early in the second period. Penn made four of its first five shots, all of them lay ups or open jumpers in the paint, and led by as many as 14.

But the Crimson's offense continued to score early and often, and when the Quaker's shooting hit a cold steak, going 1-for-11 over a seven-minute period, Harvard made its move.

"We got down 13 or 14, and the guys just decided we can't lose this one, senior David Weaver said. "It was very satisfying. This team is tired of losing to teams less talented than us."

Grancio and Snowden notched 23 of the Crimson's first 29 points in the second half while the outside shooting continued to struggle (0-for-7 on second-half three-pointers).

Despite Harvard's perimeter shooting woes, Penn continued to play straight-up man-to-man defense and did not double-team on Snowden or Grancio as the two scored almost at will against Penn's inexperienced underclassmen post players.

"I'm surprised that [Penn] let [Grancio and Snowden] go one-on-one with their freshmen, Weaver said. "Kyle ate them up inside, and we all fed off that."

Penn coaches made no apology for the defensive scheme and gave credit to the Harvard team.

"We were hoping to play solidly defensively", Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "We were a little worn down after [Friday night at Dartmouth], and we knew we were in for a tough night."

But while it was Snowden and Grancio who pulled Harvard to within reach, the Crimson's last four buckets in regulation came from guard tandem of sophomore Tim Hill and senior David Demian.

Demian made two jumpers in the final two minutes to allow Harvard to set up one final play to tie.

Hill and Snowden worked an isolation play on the left wing, but Penn effectively denied the interior feed and forced Hill to create his own shot as time expired.

"Our first look was inside, but Penn did a great job defensively, so Tim had to take the shot, and fortunately, it dropped," Sullivan said.

Garett Kreitz led the Quakers with 20 points, including four three-pointers.

The win exorcises one of the last remaining ghosts haunting Harvard's Ivy League stature, and sets the team on course to finish second in the Ivies for the first time in almost anyone's memory.

Despite a 14-9 record, the Crimson had been soundly defeated in all three of its previous games against Penn and Princeton, including two big losses during an embarrassing road trip this February. But Saturday, Harvard finally proved it could play with the big boys.

"Our players thought we should be in the upper half of the Ivy League and thought they could play with Penn and Princeton," Sullivan said. "They wanted to prove that tonight."CrimsonDavid S. TangIt's party time at Lavietes Pavilion, as Harvard knocks off Penn and stays tied for second in Ivy League play.

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