For a moment last night it felt like Harvard was literally running away with their game against Brown. Early in the second half, Harvard guard Siyani Chambers snuck up behind Cedric Kuakumensah, filched the ball from him in Rajon Rondo-esque fashion, and raced the other way for an uncontested fast break layup. The bucket ignited the Lavietes Pavilion crowd and handed the Crimson a 36-21 lead over a Brown Bears team that had kept things close in the first half.
The feisty Bears fought back, and actually cut the deficit to only 3 points with 2:17 left in the contest, but in the end Harvard simply had too much firepower. The final was 52-47 from Allston and with the victory, Harvard improved to 18-3 and 5-0 in Ivy play.
11-8 Brown does represent one of the better Ivy League teams and Harvard had a mighty tough time scoring last night. Harvard hit on just four of 18 threes, was often vexed by the zone defense Brown employed for much of the second half, and finished the night with a team shooting percentage of just 32%.
But, as has often been the case this year, Harvard’s defense made up for any stagnancy at the other end. It was a Harvard block party, as the Crimson blocked eight shots with several of the rejections coming on run-downs in spectacular fashion. Harvard’s athleticism was as apparent as ever, and their defensive activity forced Brown into 15 turnovers. Brown didn’t hit on too many shots either, finishing the night with just 15 hits from the field (27%) and only two from downtown.
A key to the night for Harvard was the spectacular defensive job they did on Sean McGonagill, Brown’s star guard and the Ivy League’s leading scorer. McGonagill was largely invisible at Lavietes, finishing with just eight points and one assist.
Zena Edosomwan, Harvard’s athletic freshman forward who has been starting to make an impact of late (he scored 11 against FAU on January 21st and 10 against Penn last weekend), had the best performance of his young career. Edosomwan was fairly dominant in 11 minutes on the court, snaring five boards, scoring a team high 12 points, and drawing a number of fouls. For Harvard to make a deep run in the NCAAs the March, big contributions from Edosomwan in the paint might be required.
While Harvard was battling with Brown, Yale was blowing out Dartmouth. The Bulldogs plowed their way through the Big Green in Hanover to improve their conference record to 4-1 and set the stage for a huge game tonight between Harvard and Yale. Harvard took Brown’s best shot last night and will take Yale’s best tonight. It should be another fun night in the Ivy League.