For the second straight game, the Harvard men’s basketball team trailed early on but managed to claw back for a tie during the second half. But for the second straight game, the Crimson watched the score, and the ball, disappear into its opponent’s hands.
Harvard (0-2, 0-0 Ivy) came into this season hoping to improve on last year’s performance, when it averaged over 19 give-aways per contest en route to a 4-23 record.
However, after coughing the ball up 19 times in a season-opening loss to Notre Dame, the Crimson stumbled again last night, committing 26 turnovers in a 60-52 loss to Holy Cross.
Three Harvard starters—sophomore center Brian Cusworth, junior forward Matt Stehle and junior guard Michael Beal—each had five turnovers.
After the game, Crimson coach Frank Sullivan emphasized the role that mistakes played in the defeat.
“The story of the game for us is turnovers,” Sullivan said. “We just shot ourselves in the foot.”
Nevertheless, Sullivan was pleased with his team’s performance in several aspects of the game.
“Our defense wasn’t bad, our defensive rebounding wasn’t bad, we were just really bad on offense,” Sullivan said.
The 45 turnovers between the two games have made it very difficult for Harvard to keep pace on the scoreboard. The team is shooting 44.2 percent from the field while holding its opponents to only 35.4 percent shooting, a marked improvement over last year’s numbers—39.4 percent and 46.6 percent, respectively.
The problem is, the Crimson isn’t taking very many shots. Through two games, Harvard has been outshot by a combined margin of 130-95.
To paraphrase an old commercial: If you don’t control the ball, you can’t shoot. You can’t shoot, you can’t score. You can’t score, you can’t win.
As expected, one of the key contributors to the Crusaders 2-0 start has been Preseason Patriot League first-teamer Kevin Hamilton. Hamilton tormented the Crimson on both ends last night, recording a game-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and five of his team’s 20 steals. He looks to be a model of consistency, as these numbers virtually replicated his output last Monday at BU, when he recorded 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and six steals.
Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard praised his star after the game.
“Kevin was big again at both ends of the floor. He knocked some big threes down,” Willard said. “But thing about him is, he really can affect the game so much on the defensive end as well as the offensive end.”
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