If I told you that Justin Sears, the leading scorer for the Yale Bulldogs, crushed it tonight to the tune of 28 points and 11 rebounds, which made for his third straight twenty-point game and his second double-double against Harvard in as many chances this season, you might be certain that Yale kept Harvard from the Big Dance for at least one more night.
Sears had an incredible night, getting great position in the paint and earning multiple easy layups and dunks. He missed only five of his 16 shot attempts on the night, and was near perfect from the free throw line as well. Surely you're waiting for me to drop the other shoe though, right? Alright, you caught me.
Sears may have gone 11-for-16 for the game, but he was only 1-for-4 in the first six and a half minutes, and his teammates missed all four of their attempts as Harvard shot out to a 16-2 lead that the Bulldogs never really recovered from. They flirted on a couple of occasions with pulling the deficit to single digits and keeping it there, but never really succeeded.
Harvard Returning To Cinderella Status Once Again?
Tommy Amaker is a name everyone knows, and for good reason. Harvard has been known for making noise in the recent past, so what are the odds of an Ivy League three-peat and a return to last March's madness?
Wesley Saunders scored only nine points, the Crimson shot 43% (14-for-32) from the free throw line, and they still managed to win this one by 12 points. That's because Harvard shot a blistering 57% from the field; it's also because despite Sears' performance, the Bulldogs as a team only managed to shoot only 36% for the game, since the rest of the starters shot a hideous 3-for-21, including an ofer by Javier Duren on 11 attempts.
Steve Mondou-Missi may not have had an answer for Sears on the defensive end, but that didn't keep him from piling up 16 points and 6 rebounds before fouling out late in the game. His work on the block opened up just enough space on the perimeter, as Siyani Chambers, Brandyn Curry and Laurent Rivard each hit a pair of threes (and scored 17, 14 and 6 points respectively).
Yale kept this one artificially close by hitting 13 of 15 free throws over the last 11 minutes, while the Crimson sank only 10 of their 19 attempts, but this looked a lot more like the Harvard we know and love, not the squad that got embarrassed at home by this same opponent.
Harvard will now hang out at home and wait to see where they wind up getting seeded in the tournament, and they will look to fill Cinderella's shoes once again.