Travis scores 24 points as Stanford beats Harvard in China
SHANGHAI (AP) Reid Travis was elated to be back on the court after missing most of last season with an injury. It didn't matter if it was at home in Stanford – or on the other side of the world in China.
Travis scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds – both career highs – to lead Stanford (1-0) to an 80-70 win over Harvard on Saturday in just the second regular-season college basketball game to be played in China.
Travis, the Cardinal's top returning scorer and rebounder, was back in the lineup for the first time since missing the final 22 games of last season with a stress reaction in his left leg.
''I only played eight games last year so I spent a lot of time on the bench in a sweat suit cheering these guys on,'' he said. ''I could barely sleep last night. I slept like three hours just itching to put that jersey back on and get back on the court and compete with my teammates.
''It's been a long process, a long summer, a long preseason – just staying healthy, getting healthy.''
Michael Humphrey added 15 points and Grant Verhoeven, Marcus Allen and Dorian Pickens each scored 10 to give Stanford its first win under new coach Jerod Haase, who coached at UAB the last four seasons.
Haase said he was glad his team got a tough early-season test from a team like Harvard, which has captured five Ivy League championships in the last six years.
''Maybe the most important thing is Harvard's really good,'' he said. ''Not only are they good now, they're going to be much better as the year goes on. With all their youth and all their talent, they're going to be a team to reckon with.''
Harvard (0-1) closed the gap to 67-61 with 4:00 remaining after Bryce Aiken hit a 3-pointer and Siyani Chambers followed with a layup, but Stanford made several stops down the stretch and hit key free throws to put the game away.
Aiken, a freshman, led Harvard with 21 points and Chambers added 12, but the Crimson only connected on 37 percent of their shots and were just 4 of 17 from 3-point range.
''I think you've seen some of the potential of our younger guys,'' Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. ''The season's just starting and we're very excited about what lies in front of us.''
The game was sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference and Chinese tech giant Alibaba, which brought Washington and Texas to Shanghai last year for the first regular-season NCAA men's basketball game to be played in China. Earlier Saturday, the Pac-12 announced UCLA and Georgia Tech would play next season in China.
Chinese basketball star Yao Ming watched Saturday's game courtside, along with NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton and former NBA player Jimmer Fredette, who scored 51 points for the Shanghai Sharks in a Chinese Basketball Association game against Guangdong on Friday night.
Stanford: The Cardinal showed its experience against Harvard, with senior Verhoeven providing a spark off the bench and Travis helping give Stanford a 42-36 advantage on the boards.
Harvard: Following a disappointing 14-16 record last season, the Crimson's highly touted recruiting class is off to a promising start this year, with Aiken leading all Harvard scorers and fellow freshman Chris Lewis adding 10 points and two blocks in the first half.
''We went on a riverboat tour (in Shanghai) and outside of basketball, that's the biggest thing I'll remember is just cruising up and down the river, just looking at the buildings and taking in the beauty of the city at night,'' Travis said of his first trip to China. ''It was amazing to me because if you think New York's big … you come to Shanghai, it's just eye-opening.''
Harvard has six days off before playing its home opener against crosstown NAIA team Fisher College on Thursday and Holy Cross on Nov. 22.
Stanford has three home games coming up, starting with Cal State-Northridge on Tuesday, followed by Weber State two days later.