Harvard carries a season-best six-game win streak into Friday evening's Ivy League contest against Columbia. The Crimson stands 13-3 overall and 2-0 in the Ancient Eight, while the Lions are also undefeated in conference play (2-0) and are 11-5 overall. Harvard will host Cornell (4-12, 0-2) at Lavietes Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
Faculty and Staff Night
All Harvard faculty and staff will receive free admission to Friday evening's game against Columbia at 7 p.m. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Athletic ticket office at 65 N. Harvard St. Boston MA 02163 Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.
All Harvard fans are encouraged to wear white to the Crimson's game against Cornell Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
Friday's game marks the 165th meeting between Harvard and Columbia, with the Lions owning a 93-71 advantage in the series that started back in 1900-01. The Crimson has taken the last three games against the Lions, including a sweep last season.
Harvard outscored Columbia, 45-26, in the first half and held on for a 77-57 victory in Lavietes Pavilion Feb. 20, 2010. Oliver McNally scored a career-high 23 points, making 8-of-10 shots from the field, including 5-of-7 from long distance. Kyle Casey converted all six free-throw attempts and finished with 10 points, while Jeremy Lin '10 (11 points) and Dee Giger (10 points) also reached double figures.
After trailing 40-28 with 15:36 to play, Harvard went on a 23-2 run and outscored Dartmouth, 31-10, down the stretch to earn a 59-50 Ivy League victory last weekend. Four Crimson players scored in double figures: Laurent Rivard (13), Keith Wright (12), Brandyn Curry (12) and Oliver McNally (12). McNally converted 9-of-10 free throws, including all eight in the second half, as Harvard improved to 2-0 in conference play for the second straight year.
The Lions extended their n streak to four games with a 70-66 victory at Cornell Jan. 22. Brian Barbour connected on 7-of-13 shots from the field and was 8-of-9 from the foul line to lead the Lions with 23 points. Meiko Lyles added 10 points in only 16 minutes, while Mark Cisco led Columbia with seven rebounds. The Lions blocked four shots and outrebounded Cornell by a 38-32 margin.
Last season's win over the Lions started Harvard's current 11-game win streak at home, tying a modern program record. The Crimson stands at 8-0 at Lavietes Pavilion this season, making Harvard one of 32 teams in the nation to have a perfect home record entering the weekend.
For the third straight season and fourth time in six years, Harvard received a vote in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll this week. Harvard is the only Ivy League team to have received a vote in a major national poll this season and currently sits 50th in the NCAA's RPI entering this weekend's action.
During this weekend's contests against Columbia and Cornell, the Harvard coaching staff will wear sneakers with their suits as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer campaign. This charity was founded by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
All eight Ivy League men's basketball coaches will be participating in the Coaches vs. Cancer® Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend.
For the second straight season, Harvard swept Dartmouth to open conference play and sits at 2-0 in Ivy League action. Harvard started 3-0 in league play last season. The Crimson has twice started 5-0 (1980-81 and 1990-91) in Ivy League contests.
In its last two wins, Harvard has overcome a nine-point deficit at George Washington and a 12-point deficit to Dartmouth, winning both games. The Crimson trailed the Colonials, 35-26, with 19:36 remaining, but outscored GW, 41-27, the rest of the way to win 67-62. On Saturday against the Big Green, Dartmouth led, 40-28, with 15:36 to play, but the Crimson went on a 23-2 run and claimed a 59-50 victory. Harvard is now 4-2 when trailing at halftime.
Harvard entered the weekend with a 4-0 record in January with wins at Boston College, Dartmouth and George Washington and a home victory over Dartmouth. Harvard was 5-2 in December and 4-1 in November. The Crimson had won six straight games heading into Friday, a season-high.
For the third time this season, Laurent Rivard was tabbed the Ivy League Rookie of the Week Jan. 17. Rivard scored all 16 of his points in the second half in Harvard's 67-62 victory at George Washington Jan. 15. Rivard made 4-of-6 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 from long range, helping the Crimson come back from nine-point deficit in the second half.
Harvard appears 50th in the most recent NCAA RPI, released Monday. The Crimson has the highest RPI in the Ivy League, 10 spots ahead of conference rival Princeton (60).
Harvard is 4-0 this season when scoring 80 or more points, topping Colorado, 82-66, Nov. 28, Fordham, 80-57, Dec. 1, Boston University, 87-71, Dec. 11 and MIT, 84-58, Dec. 31.
The Crimson is undefeated this season at home (8-0), scoring 70 or more points (8-0), surrendering less than 60 points (6-0), shooting better than 35% from 3 (8-0), shooting under 75% from the foul line (4-0), in games decided by 4-10 points (5-0) and in January (4-0).
Amaker vs. The Ivy League
Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker enters the weekend with a 21-23 record against Ivy League opponents. Harvard is 12-4 against Ancient Eight foes since the start of the 2009-10 campaign.
The Crimson stands second in the nation as a team with an 80.6 percent success rate from the charity stripe (just behind Wisconsin's 81.9 shooting percentage). Harvard, which owns the NCAA record for team free-throw percentage for a season (82.2 percent in 1983-84), made 23-of-24 (.958) of its attempts from the foul line in its win at Boston College Jan. 5. Harvard made a season-best 28 free throws in wins over WPI Dec. 7 and Monmouth Dec. 29.
Oliver McNally (59-of-63) is tied for fifth in the country at 93.7 percent from the foul line, while Laurent Rivard is tied for seventh sixth (42-of-45, .933). Chris Warren of Mississippi leads the nation with a 94.8 percent clip.
Night and Day
The Crimson is 6-1 during evening games and 7-2 during afternoon contests this year.