Home-court advantage continues to hold true for the No. 25 Harvard men’s basketball team. The Crimson (10-1) extended its winning streak at Lavietes Pavilion to 20 games Thursday night, taking down Florida Atlantic (4-8), 63-51.
The run is the longest in program history and dates back to the 2009-2010 season, when Harvard fell at home to that year’s eventual Ivy League champion, Cornell, on Feb. 19, 2010.
With the win against the Owls, the Crimson improved to a perfect 3-0 at home so far this season.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Although Harvard eventually took the contest by a comfortable 12-point margin, the game featured eight lead changes and five ties, as key turnovers and missed opportunities nearly derailed the Harvard team.
“I thought we had turnovers that were silly,” Crimson coach Tommy Amaker said. “It wasn’t like they were in a full-court press where they created the turnovers. I felt they didn’t pressure us [into turning the ball over.]”
In the first half, Harvard amassed 10 turnovers to FAU’s seven, although the Crimson capitalized on more of its extra chances with 11 points off of opposing giveaways.
Harvard’s 17 turnovers over the course of the game tied the team’s highest number this season. The Crimson gave away the ball as many times in its low-scoring upset of then-No. 22 Florida State at the Battle 4 Atlantis over Thanksgiving.
“We need to be tougher, stronger with the ball ... in particular in the backcourt,” Amaker said. “[Florida Atlantic guard Raymond Taylor] was in pretty much the whole game, and he’s going make you do a lot a lot of things you don’t want to do ... but I was disappointed in our handling back there.”
Although the game was tied at 17 after 10 minutes of play, Harvard outscored its opponent in the back end of the first half to enter the break up by six.
The second half also featured a late but decisive Harvard run. Despite being knotted at 45 with just over seven minutes to play, the Crimson overpowered the Owls in the final minutes of the game, as junior point guard Brandyn Curry started off an 18-6 final run with a pair of made free throws at 7:18. The advantage proved to be a lead the Crimson would not relinquish.
“[FAU is] a tough, physical, defensive team,” Curry said. “They came out trying to kick us in the mouth a little bit. It took us a little while to respond, a little bit longer than we would have liked.”
Although Harvard faced a 12-day interlude between its most recent contests due to reading period and exam week restrictions, the Crimson players maintained that preparation did not play a role in the slow start.
“Everybody is taking exams,” Curry said. “It’s not an excuse. We had really good practices leading up to [this game]. We have to come out and be ready to go. We know we’re getting everybody’s best stuff, but we have to come out better.”
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Crimson Struggles In Texas Road Trip
Freshman Hurdler Breaks All-Time Record
Men's Basketball Dominates Rice, 92-62
Baseball Heads South To Face OwlsThis weekend sees the Harvard Baseball team traveling to Houston, Tex. to take on the No. 27 Rice Owls in a trio of fixtures spread over three days. It marks another stop on the Crimson’s customary annual tour of the South before Ivy League play begins on Mar. 30 against Columbia. On its travels so far, the team has played in both Virginia and South Carolina.
NOTEBOOK: Men's Basketball Extends Win Streak to NineThe Crimson's victory over Rice gives Harvard a 13-1 record, making this the best start for the team since the 1945-46 squad, which saw its season end in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.
Men’s Basketball Preview: Florida Atlantic