Just a few short hours after Arizona cut Belmont’s upset bid short, the Harvard Crimson launched their own Cinderella campaign with a 68-62 victory over three-seed New Mexico.
The Crimson shot their way to victory, making eight of eighteen three-pointers and hitting at a 52-percent clip overall. The hot shooting was the reason for the upset as Harvard was out-rebounded 31-25 by the bigger Lobos. New Mexico also caused the Crimson to turn the ball over thirteen times, three more than the Lobos.
In the end, it came down to a veteran guard and a young forward for Harvard. Junior shooting guard Laurent Rivard, played all forty minutes for his team, never leaving the court. All nine of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc and he nailed five of them. Rivard tacked on two free throws for his seventeen points on the night and led the team with two steals.
Sophomore Wesley Saunders will start at the small forward position and will likely be guarded by Solomon Hill. The 6-foot-5 forward has led the team in scoring all season and it wasn’t anything different on Thursday night. Saunders finished the game with eighteen points while making a team-high eight of nine free throws. He also grabbed four rebounds in the contest.
Six-foot tall Siyani Chambers runs the point for the Crimson. The freshman was the other player that didn’t step off the court for Harvard. Playing every minute against New Mexico, he racked up a game-high seven assists. However, the good was not without the bad as Chambers had five turnovers as well.
Another guard that will start for Arizona’s next opponent is Christian Webster. The senior has the most experience on the team, but is still more of a role player. Webster had eleven points, making three treys in the game against New Mexico. He grabbed just a single rebound and dished out a single assist.
The final member of the Crimson’s starting lineup is Kenyatta Smith. The 6-foot-8 sophomore grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in the upset. Smith also added ten points on four of seven shooting from the field with two free throws. He will be the tallest player on the court for Harvard and will likely draw attention from Kaleb Tarczewski. His footwork may be better in the match-up, but Tarczewski’s height may be the bigger advantage.
Harvard runs a six-man rotation for most of the night. The final member of that squad is Steve Moundou-Missi. Just a sophomore, he played twenty minutes in the win over New Mexico. The 6-foot-7 forward snagged four rebounds and scored five points. He may not be much of a threat to the Wildcats, but could see extended minutes if the Crimson get into foul trouble.
Arizona is looking to march on to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in as many trips to the NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Sean Miller. Harvard has already upset one of the favorites to win the West bracket and has its eyes set on toppling another Goliath.