Winter, a junior who started some of his freshman year but had to come off the bench last season, turned in a double-double with 11 points and ten rebounds on Saturday as the Harvard men’s basketball team held on to beat Stony Brook 64-59 at Lavietes Pavilion.
Down at the half, the Crimson played tough defense to hold Stony Brook (0-6) to 25 points in the second half and improve its record to 4-1, the best start for Harvard in four years.
“I think our games have been very challenging for us,” Harvard Coach Frank Sullivan said. “This was a unique game for us because we hadn’t seen a team whose offense revolved around one dominating player.”
For the Seawolves, who were playing their first ever game against Harvard, that player was guard D.J. Munir.
Munir, who came into the game averaging 20.8 points per game, had 11 points until three late baskets pushed his final to 17.
“Our focus was on Munir,” Sullivan said. “I thought our defense on him was excellent.”
The Crimson started the game by jumping out to a five-point lead after causing four turnovers in the first four minutes.
Junior guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman shook off a poor offensive showing against Northeastern on Tuesday by burying his first three shots, all three-pointers.
But Stony Brook responded with the play of forward Mike Konopka and center JonPaul Kobryn, each of whom reached double figures in points by the end of the half.
The Seawolves also forced the Crimson into 11 turnovers and a bevy of missed shots by senior center Tim Coleman. Prasse-Freeman’s hot shooting hand also cooled down, as he made only one of his next five shots.
“Elliott got in a rhythm early, which is important for him,” Sullivan said. “When [Stony Brook] went to the half-court trap, that threw our whole team out of sync, and that rhythm kind of slowed down a bit.”
The turnover-filled first half ended on a last-second jump shot by Munir that put Stony Brook up 34-33.
But it was the Crimson that came out with the second-half intensity, fueled by disappointment over letting the Seawolves shoot 15-of-31 (48.4 percent) from the floor in the first half. Harvard’s turnovers ceased for the most part, and strong play on the offensive glass led to easy points. An 11-6 run six minutes into the half put Harvard up 44-40 and gave it a lead the Crimson would not relinquish.
Stony Brook hung around, however, and despite stretches where it could not score, Harvard’s own poor shooting (9-of-26 in the second half, 0-of-6 from beyond the arc) and some missed free throws ensured the Seawolves would get a chance in the waning minutes.
But Harvard’s size inside made up for the shooting mistakes.