UConn 57, Harvard 49
UConn forward DeAndre Daniels was having back spasms Friday and
wasn’t sure he would be able to play against Harvard.
He fought through the pain to score a career-high 23 points to
lead Connecticut to a 57-49 win.
”I just kept scoring and kept getting more confidence in myself
and my teammates kept looking for me, and I was knocking down my
shots,” he said. ”(The pain) was going away.”
Ryan Boatright added 16 points for the Huskies (7-2), who were
coming off a four-point loss to No. 25 North Carolina State earlier
in the week.
Wesley Saunders had 14 points and Steve Moundou-Missi added 10
for Harvard (4-4).
Harvard trailed by three at halftime and was down just 33-32
after a layup by Saunders early in the second half.
But the Huskies went on a 13-2 run over the next 7 1/2 minutes
and stretched that lead to 12. An alley-oop from Shabazz Napier to
Niels Giffey made it 46-34 and brought the crowd to their feet, and
UConn was able to keep Harvard at arm’s length the rest of the
”They were getting their confidence on, and any team is
dangerous once they get their confidence,” Boatright said. ”Once
they cut it to one, we knew we had to stop their run, and break
their hearts again.”
Daniels began getting back spasms in the Huskies’ loss to North
Carolina State on Tuesday. But he felt good enough to start and had
15 points in the first half and eight during a 15-2 UConn run that
opened the game.
”He just controlled the game … and then showed the toughness
that we want,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. ”With the back
spasms, it locked up during the first TV timeout and he just
continued to play.”
The Crimson missed their first six shots, and had five turnovers
before they scored their first basket, a dunk by Jonah Travis, six
minutes into the game.
UConn, meanwhile, hit six of its first seven shots.
Junior center Enosch Wolf made his first career start after
putting up career highs of 12 points and nine rebounds against
North Carolina State. He blocked the game’s first shot and had two
early baskets in UConn’s opening run.
When he went to the bench for a rest, Harvard got back into the
game by going on an 11-0 run. Christian Webster had two 3-pointers
during that stretch and three in the half.
The Crimson got within a point at 25-24 on a layup by
Moundou-Missi, and trailed 27-24 at halftime.
The loss snaps a two-game winning streak for the Crimson, who
had beaten Fordham at home and Boston College on the road.
Harvard is playing short-handed all season after losing
co-captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry to a cheating scandal that
had them take one-year leaves of absence from the team.
”I’m finding out that we have a scrappy team,” Harvard coach
Tommy Amaker said. ”But, we’re also finding out that we can’t have
big stretches of games where we aren’t efficient.”
Daniels (15), Boatright (eight), and Wolf (four) were the only
Huskies to score in the first half. A dunk by Giffey that made it
39-34 midway through the second half was the first basket by
Napier had just six points, all in the second half. But he had
nine assists and added seven rebounds. Napier had been averaging
18.6 points a game, and almost 13 of those in the second half.
UConn, a guard dominated team, was outrebounded 27-20 and has
been outrebounded in eight of its nine games.
Harvard falls to 0-4 against UConn under Amaker, and the Huskies
lead the series 16-2. Harvard hasn’t beaten UConn since 1972.
The Huskies, who were ranked as high as 21 earlier in the season
have played to the level of the competition.
They beat Michigan State and played N.C. State tough, but also
won by single digits over Quinnipiac, Stony Brook and New
”For us to play the way we play, Coach is going to get gray
hair and he’s only 30-something years old,” Napier said. ”He’s
going to look like (70-year-old former coach Jim) Calhoun in two
months, and we don’t want that to happen.”