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BOSTON, Mass.—The Harvard men’s basketball team finished its game at Boston University last night with a 5-0 run. It would have needed a run 10 times that big—literally—just to take the lead.
The Crimson (0-6) trailed by as many as 49 points before ultimately falling 86-42 to the Terriers (3-3).
“[Our effort] had to be lacking for us to lose by [almost] 50 points,” junior captain Jason Norman said.
Four BU players scored in double figures, led by diminutive guards Chaz Carr and Matt Turner. The 6’0 Carr and 5’11 Turner combined for 34 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including an 8-for-16 performance from three-point range.
The Crimson actually led 12-7 after consecutive three-pointers from junior guard David Giovacchini and sophomore forward Matt Stehle.
But Stehle picked up his second foul just 7:21 into the contest and joined Harvard coach Frank Sullivan on the bench.
Meanwhile, the Terriers reeled off 16 straight points to jump-start a 37-5 run that covered the rest of the first half as the Crimson came unglued.
Things didn’t get any better for Harvard after halftime. BU started the second half with a 15-3 spurt against an ineffectual Crimson press to take a 59-20 advantage 5:16 into the half.
Norman converted Harvard’s first field goal of the second half 31 seconds later. The Crimson hadn’t scored from the floor since a Norman bucket 5:03 before halftime, a span of 10:50.
But you could pick any of a bevy of statistics to describe how ugly this one was.
The Terriers—the worst three-point shooting team in America East entering the game—hit 44 percent of their trifectas against Harvard’s perimeter defense. The Crimson’s opponents had shot 43.2 percent against it from three-point land entering the matchup, the highest such percentage in the Ivies.
“Eventually it’ll get better,” Norman said. “We have to get it better by league time because that’s what our league is about—three-point shooting.”
Harvard is also the worst in the Ivies in scoring defense, allowing an average of 79.3 points per game. The Crimson has allowed an average of 86 points over its last four games—BU’s exact total last night.
The Terriers ended the game shooting 58.3 percent from the floor. On the other end of the court, the Crimson managed to shoot only 26.4-percent against BU.
The Terriers entered the game allowing opponents to shoot 46.4-percent, the highest percentage in America East. Harvard’s performance included a dreadful 3-for-16 outing from behind the arc.
“We personally were dealing with a lethal combination: can’t score, can’t guard and can’t play at the line of scrimmage,” Sullivan said.
The Crimson had 19 turnovers against only eight assists, and the ratio was even worse—12 to two—in the first half. Giovacchini was the only Harvard player with multiple assists with three, but he also committed seven turnovers.
BU had a Case Gymnasium-record 30 assists on 35 baskets.
The Crimson’s top four scorers entering the game—junior guard Kevin Rogus, Stehle, sophomore point guard Michael Beal and Norman—combined for just 21 points on 5-of-33 shooting, including an 0-14 performance from Rogus and Beal.
Rogus came into the game averaging 17.6 points per outing but finished with just five.
Even Stehle—who led Harvard with eight points—went 1-for-4 from the charity stripe after entering the game shooting over 90 percent (14-for-15).
It was the Crimson’s eighth straight defeat dating back to last season and the most lopsided loss by a Harvard team since a 118-65 shellacking at eventual NCAA champion Duke on Nov. 30, 1991.
Needless to say, BU is not Duke.
“Clearly, that’s as tough a pill as we’ve had to swallow around here in a long period of time,” Sullivan said.
Junior forward Graham Beatty tied a career high with seven rebounds, including five of the Crimson’s 13 on the offensive end. Harvard led the Ivy League with an average of 12.2 offensive boards per game entering the contest.
Beal pulled down five rebounds—all on the defensive end—and remained the Crimson’s leading rebounder with an average of 6.5 per contest.
BU has now won 10 of the teams’ last 11 meetings.
The Terriers returned from a six-day layoff after a double-overtime win over Ohio and established or tied 29 all-time team records on the night.
—Staff writer Alan G. Ginsberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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