Harvard beats Brown, gets help to force Ivy tiebreaker vs. Yale

 

Harvard’s run as Ivy League champion continues.

Siyani Chambers scored 15 points and defending champion Harvard earned a share of the title with a 72-62 victory over Brown after Yale lost later Saturday night.

It’s Harvard’s fifth straight Ivy crown.

Yale, which came in a game up over Harvard after a road victory over the Crimson on Friday, blew a late lead at Dartmouth, falling 59-58 about an hour later. The schools will play a tiebreaker Saturday at Penn.

The Ivy is the only conference that awards its automatic NCAA bid to the regular-season champion

”We’ve had some pretty big highs — as we’ve felt right now,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said after Yale’s loss. ”I told them about a quote from former President John F. Kennedy, ‘Never settle for second place when first place is still available.”’

”Rematch, baby,” back-up point guard Matt Fraschilla yelled.

Wesley Saunders, Kenyatta Smith and Jonah Travis each had 12 points for the Crimson (21-7, 11-3). Steve Moundou-Missi added eight points and 14 rebounds.

PLAY FOX BRACKET CHALLENGE

”It’s a different feeling,” Saunders said about 20 minutes before the Yale-Dartmouth game ended. ”Usually we control our own fate. It’s a little different sitting over here hoping for an outcome.”

Amaker didn’t know what to expect when he first spoke to the media when his team’s game ended.

”We still hopefully have some basketball to play,” he said. ”It’s nice to see guys getting better at this point of the season.”

When the Harvard game ended, Wesley said players looked for updates quickly.

”Pretty fast,” he said, smiling. ”Everybody was in (the locker room) talking. We’ll see what happens.”

The Crimson have another shot at going to the NCAA tourney.

Cedric Kuakumensah led Brown (13-18, 4-10) with 23 points. The Bears closed the season with a three-game losing streak.

NCAA TOURNAMENT CENTRAL

Behind three 3-pointers by Chambers and two from Corbin Miller, the Crimson pulled away midway into the second half.

Chambers’ second of back-to-back 3’s pushed Harvard ahead for good, 36-34. Miller nailed two just over a minute apart during a 17-1 run that helped build a 59-41 lead.

About all that was left for Harvard’s fans at that point was getting scoreboard updates from Dartmouth.

”It’s hard to keep their minds focused,” Amaker said about the big lead.

Harvard’s reign atop the league brought three NCAA tourney bids and two early-round victories, including a second-round upset over Cincinnati last year.

”It’ been a long weekend,” Amaker said. ”Whatever is going to happen, we’ll see how it goes. I’m just proud of our seniors.”

Unlike Friday night when Harvard lost 62-52 to rival Yale in front of a sold-out and boisterous crowd, the school band wasn’t in the house and it was somewhat quieter even though it was Senior Night — likely by the looming possibility of the Crimson being eliminated from the league title chase.

Brown led 28-27 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Brown: Shot 50 percent on its 3’s in the first half (5 of 10).

Harvard: The Crimson said goodbye to seven seniors during a pregame ceremony, notably starters Saunders and Moundou-Missi.

UP NEXT

Brown: Season over

Harvard: Plays Yale on Saturday in Philadelphia in the Ivy League tiebreaker.