By Matt Noonan
CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Harvard University men’s basketball team may have picked up their 10th win of the season on Thursday, but it wasn’t exactly the prettiest performance by a nationally ranked team.
The Crimson used two late runs in both halves to secure a 63-51 victory, which head coach Tommy Amaker explained is something Harvard shouldn’t rely on for future success.
“We’re not going to be able to get runs on every team [because] we’re going to be in some tough, tight games,” said Amaker.
“We’re going to be a target, and people are going to play incredibly hard against us, and it’s going to be tough for us, so we knew that and we’re not going to have runs all the time.”
Harvard won the tip, but struggled to gain any sort of momentum.
Points, rebounds and assists by junior Kyle Casey, senior Keith Wright, (12 points, 11 rebounds, and one block) and junior Brandyn Curry, (12 points, seven assists, and four steals) helped, but the Crimson’s 10 turnovers and eight missed shots allowed the Owls to keep pace for a majority of the first period.
However, junior Christian Webber sank two critical free throws, and one three-pointer during the final few minutes, which gave the men sporting white and maroon a six point lead at intermission.
“I thought we had some turnovers that were silly,” said Amaker. “We weren’t tougher or stronger with the ball when we needed to be at various times.”
FAU came out firing in the second half, as junior Raymond Taylor led his squad with two critical three-pointers, and a few jump shots that provided the necessary spark for the Owls on offense and defense.
“I don’t think anybody else in the NCAA is like him [because] those hands are so quick, [and he’s] such a good scorer and passer,” said Curry, when asked to describe the play of Taylor.
Both teams then spent the remainder of the final period swapping leads until Wright registered a powerful dunk, which electrified his teammates and his fans.
“[Coach Amaker] talked to us at halftime, specifically [senior Oliver McNally and I], about leadership, and making sure our [team] believed that we could win. We’re a good team, so it was basically Oliver and I [who helped our team regain the lead for good],” said Wright.
The Crimson then tallied an additional 10 more points to secure the victory, and hand FAU their eighth loss of the season.
“Every game is going to be a big game for anybody that we’re going to play, so we just have to go into those games expecting to give those teams best shot, and play like that,” said Wright.
“It’s great to see our kids come through in those types of moments, as we’ve done earlier in the year so far,” said Amaker.
Harvard will return to the court next Thursday, (Dec. 29), when they travel to Boston College, while Florida Atlantic will head home to face Siena.