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STANFORD, Calif.—Big men created a very big problem for the Harvard men's basketball team Sunday as it fell 100-59 to No. 6 Stanford in front of almost 5,000 at Maples Pavilion.
The Crimson frontcourt was outscored 73-29 en route to the team's second-worst loss of the season.
Harvard (0-11) has now matched its worst start since the 1991-92 campaign.
Harvard began the game well, playing fairly evenly with the Cardinal (9-0) for much of the first half.
After Stanford went on a brief run to build a 21-9 lead nine minutes into the contest, Harvard mounted a comeback, pulling to within three at 30-27.
Junior guard Kevin Rogus tallied eight points during the stretch, including two three-pointers.
"We didn't get discouraged by their run," Rogus said. "We just tried to have a lot of intensity in our game"
The Crimson made a total of four three-pointers during the six-minute span—the other two coming from sophomore forwards Zach Martin and Matt Stehle.
"They came out, they competed and they played hard and aggressive," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said.
"Our execution was poor. We ran plays that were supposed to get us a certain shot, but if we didn't get that shot, we got a little flustered."
Despite the promising Crimson effort, Cardinal forward Justin Davis promptly responded to the Harvard run with a layup and a thunderous dunk, triggering a 14-2 spurt that gave Stanford a 44-29 advantage.
Davis, center Rob Little and forward Matt Haryasz combined for 27 points and 12 rebounds in the first 20 minutes to lead Stanford, while Rogus was the high scorer for the Crimson with 10 points at halftime.
The second half was a different story for Harvard, as it was never able to recover from a 27-8 Cardinal run out of the break.
"At the start of the second half, the trapping of the zone really hurt us," Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. "We got rattled and it shook us up big time. From that point on, we were playing catch-up the rest of the way, physically and mentally."
Stanford never looked back, eventually outscoring Harvard 56-28 after halftime, including an impressive 46-2 advantage in the paint.
"The issue for us was we couldn't stay with them inside at all," Sullivan said. "Our starting frontcourt couldn't rebound the basketball with them, we didn't have the speed to stay with them in conversion and we were ineffective in guarding them inside the rim."
Davis, at 6’9 and 230 pounds, and Little (6’10, 260) also had noticeable size advantages over Crimson junior Graham Beatty (6’8, 225) and Stehle (6-8, 200).
"We had a big problem with [Davis and Little]," Rogus said. "They were too big. They could do what they wanted. I played against Rob [Little] in high school. He's tough to contain."
In addition to strong inside play, Stanford also benefited from 19 points from guard Matt Lottich and seven assists from guard Chris Hernandez.
Rogus led all scorers with 22 points, while Stehle contributed 14 for Harvard.
The Crimson converted all of its free throw attempts (14) for the first time this season, and shot just above 40 percent from three-point range in the defeat.
"Three-point shooting is a big key for us," Sullivan said. "Our league is very three-point oriented. It was good to see us shoot well from that range."
—Staff writer Samita Mannapperuma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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