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As classes are just beginning in the second semester, so is the Harvard men's basketball team's season truly starting.
Entering into last Saturday's game against Yale, Harvard was wrapping up a five-game homestand, and a win was crucial for the upcoming road trip to Penn and Princeton, not to mention the remaining eight Ivy League games.
The expected crux of the game lied in the matchup between Harvard senior forward Kyle Snowden and Yale senior Daniel Okonkwo. Entering into the game, Okonkwo was first in Ivy scoring and rebounds, while Snowden recently set the school record for rebounds and ranked fourth in the Ivy in scoring.
With tipoff, however, this matchup quickly turned into domination. Okonkwo had two early personal fouls and never really got back into the game physically, finishing with only six points while Snowden had 25.
"My goal was to take him out of his game," Snowden said, "He got into foul trouble early and was a little tentative the rest of the game."
To anyone watching the game, it appeared that the entire Yale team was taken out as well.
Harvard held its opponent's field goal percentage under 40 percent for the second time during the weekend, with Yale shooting only 35 percent for the game. Nevertheless, it wasn't Yale's ineffective offense that drew attention, but rather Harvard's own explosiveness.
Starting with the Crimson's first shot, a Mike Scott three-pointer, Harvard's offense--as well as its defense--exploded. More than a third of Harvard's points came off of turnovers, and the game was frequently punctuated by fast breaks and transition play.
Two stars of the defense were junior Mike Scott, who set the school record for steals with seven, and Snowden, who pulled down 13 boards. Perhaps the most satisfying point of the game came off of Scott's fifth steal when he ran down the court and wowed the crowd with a slam dunk.
That moment was one of the few times in Harvard athletics where the crowd cheered so loud that one's ears rang with the noise. What happened next was even more electrifying. Senior David Weaver blocked a shot on Yale's ensuing possession, and senior Chris Grancio took the pass for a quick three.
The roar of the crowd was deafening, and the cheers did not sub-side for the rest of the game. Especially notable were the humorous taunts by a very vocal Dunster A entryway section.
Unlike the earlier games this season, the crowd and band were loud enough to overshadow the opponent's cheers.
And, unlike earlier games this season, the Crimson played up to its ability--hopefully foreshadowing a trend for the final stretch of the season. A trend that will be crucial to Harvard's success.
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