Tag: Oliver McNally

Mass College Hoops Recap: Harvard 67, Princeton 64

By Matt Noonan

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Consider this one of those “check the box” type of weekends for the Harvard University’s men’s basketball team, who’s currently on par to wrap up the Ancient Eight.

On Friday, they completed their first task, as they defeated a rather impressive Princeton University squad, 67-64.

“What a tremendous win by our kids, and our program,” said Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker. “Princeton has been an absolute sensational team and program in this conference forever, and we have the utmost respect of what they’ve accomplished, and how tough they’ve been against us.”

“There’s no doubt about it that we’ve always [been] looking up at [them] in some ways to try and figure out how to get out of a game against them,” added Amaker. “I just thought our defense, and our will to win [on Friday] was outstanding.”

Harvard mounted a small 7-0 lead during the first few minutes thanks to junior Kyle Casey, who led all scorers with 20 points, before Princeton’s sophomore T.J. Bray drew a foul and registered one point from the charity stripe. Bray’s stroke somehow electrified the Tigers offense, as seniors Douglas Davis and Patrick Saunders combined for four triples at 8:50, which helped Princeton pull ahead, 21-20.

Princeton then went on a 12-3 run, which was halted by freshman Steve Moundou-Missi, who’s layup at 3:38 rejuvenated Harvard’s offensive unit to end the half on a 7-0 run.

“We locked down and [defended],” said Casey of his team’s first half rally. “Against their offense, you’ve got to defend for 35-seconds, and you know, you breathe, they score, so we had to really lock down, stay discipline, and just defend, and make them take tough shots and finish the possession with a rebound.”

Davis, Bray and junior Brendan Connolly helped Princeton’s offense earn a 50-43 lead halfway through the second frame, which was eventually erased by Moundou-Missi, junior Brandyn Curry and senior Keith Wright, who helped Harvard regain the lead at 9:29.

Both teams then swapped a few baskets until Curry sank a critical trifecta at 6:54, which gave Harvard a 57-55 advantage. Curry then recorded a jump shot in the paint literally two minutes later before Bray connected from beyond the arc to make it 59-56 with 2:02 remaining.

“We have confidence in [Brandyn],” said Amaker. “He’s a confident player, and he’s been able to kind of lead us in these last couple games. [The] Yale ballgame, he was outstanding, and certainly [on Friday] in so many different ways.”

Bray then provided his team with an additional bucket in the paint before he fouled Casey, who marched to the free throw line and connected on both shots from the stripe.

Princeton then called a timeout, and penciled a play for junior Ian Hummer, who’s shot in the paint hit iron instead of nylon, which forced the forward to foul senior Oliver McNally, who wound up recording six consecutive free throws on three separate trips to the line to secure the victory, as well as a season split.

“I wasn’t always a great free throw shooter, [but] I worked really hard at it, and every time I get to the line, I tell myself, you’re a senior, you’re a captain [and] you have to make those,” said McNally. “I would have taken this type of game over a 30-point blowout because we’ve been in that situation so many times against Princeton in my four years.”

Harvard’s next task will occur on Saturday, when they welcome University of Pennsylvania to Cambridge for yet another critical matchup. The Quakers defeated Dartmouth College on Friday, 57-54, and have won four of their last five matchups, as well as remain in second place in the conference standings.

“It’s a quick turnaround, so it’s all about getting your rest, and coming back with a mental mindset to fight the next night,” said Casey, when asked about-facing Penn.  “This league is won on Saturday nights, so [I’m expecting] a real, gutsy battle for both teams.”

Mass College Hoops Recap: Harvard 66, Yale 51

By Matt Noonan

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Following the conclusion of Saturday’s contests against Yale University, Harvard’s men’s basketball head coach Tommy Amaker told reporters that he was rather pleased with his team’s effort against the Bulldogs, as well as the Brown University Bears on Friday.

“I thought we came this whole weekend with a resolved [effort] to become a better defensive team, and we certainly achieved that in both victories,” said Amaker. “I was very, very proud of our kids for the effort they were able to bring and the start of both games.

Amaker was also content with the play of junior Brandyn Curry, (18 points) who netted a majority Harvard’s second half points, which helped the Crimson prevail against a gritty Bulldogs squad, 66-51.

“He’s been our playmaker, and he made plays [on Saturday],” said Amaker. “It was nice to see him find a rhythem, and be offensively aggressive and making plays.”

“I just had openings, and I just went for it,” said Curry. “They had a couple of guards that were hurt, so we just had to ware them down, so I was just attacking all night.”

Yale jumped out to a quick three-point lead thanks to senior Greg Mangano, (22 points, 11 rebounds) before Harvard sophomore Lauren Rivard responded with a trifecta 40-seconds later, which jumpstarted the Crimson offense that finished the first frame with 20 points in the paint.

Senior Oliver McNally pulled Harvard ahead for good when he sank back-to-back three-pointers, which gave Harvard a 15-9 advantage at 13:06. Freshman Travis Jonah followed up with a pair from the free throw line before Harvard’s offense tallied four consecutive layups to increase their lead to 27-13.

The Bulldogs offense eventually came to life following a four-minute scoring drought late in the first half, as sophomore Jeremiah Kreisberg recorded a layup at 3:31, which led to nine consecutive points by Yale before the buzzer sounded to conclude the first 20-minute period.

“[Yale this season] has been down, [but] they’ve just marched their way back in and won games, and that’s a mark of a good team, and a tough team,” said Amaker.

Once the second half started, Yale’s offense was electric, as Kreisberg sparked the Bulldogs to go on a 10-7 run, which eventually was halted when Curry and freshman Corbin Miller knocked down a few three-pointers to pull Harvard ahead, 50-41.

Their Crimsons lead eventually ballooned to 60-49 when Curry delivered a highlight reel dunk for the fans, and senior Keith Wright, (10 points, eight rebounds) knocked down a critical jump shot at 3:43 in the second half.

“I didn’t even know I dunked it to be honest with you,” said Curry. “I was just going for it. Just drove and then it happened.”

Junior Kyle Casey then clinched the team’s 10th victory at Lavietes Pavilion with a powerful dunk a few minutes afterward to secure Harvard’s 23rd victory of the season, which matches their win total from last season.

“I’m glad that we were able to take care of business,” said Curry. “We knew this was going to be a tough two-games this weekend, so I’m glad that we were able to buckle down, and get the two w’s.”

Harvard’s win on Saturday also marks their 27th consecutive home win, which is the second longest streak in the country.

“We’re a deep team, and one thing coach says to us every so often is it’s amazing what we can accomplish because no one cares who gets the credit,” said Wright.

The Crimson will return to their home gymnasium next week when they face Princeton on Friday, Feb. 24.

No. 23 Harvard Rallies Past St. Joes, 74-69

By Matt Noonan 

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Ending the calendar year with a victory was certainly something the Harvard University’s men’s basketball team wanted to do, as they rallied to beat St. Joe’s on Saturday afternoon, 74-69.

“What a gutsy win by our team against an outstanding basketball team,” said Harvard University head coach Tommy Amaker. “I told our kids that this is a preview of maybe something we’ll see a lot of [for the remainder of the season].”

The victory wasn’t exactly the prettiest, especially since Harvard relinquished a four point lead early in the first half, and allowed the Hawks to tally an 11-5 run, which eventually ballooned to a 14 point lead.

St. Joe’s finished the first 20-minute period by recording 19-of-24 shots from the field, which contained six three-pointers by sophomores C.J. Aiken and Langston Galloway, and junior Carl Jones, (22 points, five assists, and three rebounds).

“They’re an explosive offensive team,” said Amaker. “They’re extremely quick. They’re shifty with the ball, they’re crafty off the bounce, but then they obviously can make shots off the pass, and off the bounce, [as well as] get to the basket, [too]. They’re a handful. ”

Harvard recovered from their lackluster start, and ended the half by taking advantage of a few St. Joe’s miscues, a missed free throw by Galloway and travel by Aiken, which set up a dramatic three-point basket by senior co-captain Oliver McNally as the buzzer sounded.

The Crimson built off their dramatic first half ending immediately once the second half started, as junior Kyle Casey, (26 points, 10 rebounds), sparked a second half rally, which featured Harvard outscoring St. Joe’s, 36-21.


“Kyle was tremendous,” said Amaker. “He carried us offensively and was a presence for us, and he has the athleticism to make plays against a team like [St. Joe’s, who’s] very athletic. And we needed that.”

Casey recorded 17 points and seven rebounds in the second half, but his biggest moment of the contest came with two minutes remaining, as he secured a critical defensive rebound, which set up Curry’s go-ahead lay-up to secure Harvard’s second lead of the game, and eventually their 12th win.

“We’re a veteran team, and we’ve been in situations like that before,” said Casey, when asked to describe his team’s composure. “We knew that we had to really dig in, and just kind of grind this one out, and I think that’s what we do.”

Harvard will have very little time to enjoy this exciting victory, as they’ll head to Fordham on Tuesday, Jan. 3 for 7:00pm tip-off, while St. Joe’s will head to Duquesne on Wednesday, Jan. 4.


* The Crimson have won 21 straight games at home, which is the ninth longest streak in the country

* Saturday’s meeting marked the second time the Crimson and Hawks met on a basketball court, and now, the series is tied, 1-1. The Hawks last beat the Crimson during the ’98-’99 season, 87-69. Harvard is now 19-36 against current Atlantic-10 teams.

* Finally, Harvard’s 12th victory of the season marked their 1,001st program win.

No. 25 Harvard Picks Up 10th Win Against Florida Atlantic, 61-53

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.

Harvard Beats Princeton, Clinches Part of the Ivy League Title

Harvard University [23-5] men’s basketball team apparently lives another day, as the Crimson took care of business Saturday by defeating the Princeton Tigers [23-6], 79-67. With the win, Harvard has earned part of the 2011 Ivy League conference title and has at least secured a one-game playoff, pending Princeton’s final regular season game on Tuesday against University of Pennsylvania. If Penn beats the Tigers, Harvard would then be deemed the conference champion for the first time in school history since 1946 and receive an automatic NCAA tournament bid.

The Crimson were led by sophomore forward Kyle Casey, who scored a career high 24-points, as well as junior guard Olivar McNally who finished the game with 15-points, two assists and two rebounds. McNally was also a perfect [10-10] from the free throw line.

Other key players in the win for Harvard  included junior forward Keith Wright with 13-points and sophomore guard Brandyn Curry, who ended the game with 10-points and 10 assists.

Princeton was led by senior guard Dan Mavraides who tallied 25-points, six rebounds and one assist.