Yale (7-12) at Harvard (10-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 1, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lavietes Pavilion (2,195) -- Cambridge, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: Yale 4-2, Harvard 7-1. Away Record: Yale 2-8, Harvard 3-5. Neutral Record: Yale 1-2, Harvard 0-0. Conference Record: Yale 1-1, Harvard 2-0. Series Record: Yale leads, 113-71.
GAME NOTES: The busy Ivy League schedule shifts into high gear on Friday night, as the Harvard Crimson entertain the Yale Bulldogs at Lavietes Pavilion.
The Ivy League slate is already underway, but starting this week the teams begin the frantic action that involves playing on both Fridays and Saturday, forcing a quick turn-around for many squads as they aim for a postseason bid by winning the conference crown.
Harvard has certainly gotten off on the right foot with two wins in as many chances, the lone undefeated team in Ivy play actually. The squad first defeated Dartmouth back on Jan. 12 by a score of 75-65 on the road, and then did it again two weeks later with an 82-77 overtime triumph at home. In between, the Crimson bowed to Memphis (60-50) which means the squad has won three of the last four outings overall.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have split their first two league decisions, first bowing to Brown on Jan. 19 by a score of 65-51 and then posting a 76-64 overtime triumph a week later. Yale has won a total of seven games this season, but the team has yet to post back-to-back victories, something the Bulldogs are aiming for yet again on Friday.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Bulldogs are ahead by a count of 113-71, although Harvard has captured six of the last seven encounters, including a 66-51 win in this building a season ago.
The Bulldogs managed to make it to overtime against Brown last weekend and from there the hosts were able to take control and pull away in the 12-point final. Justin Sears was the top scorer in the contest with 18 points, adding eight rebounds, but he shot just 6-of-12 at the free-throw line. Austin Morgan chipped in 16 points, thanks to a 4-of-6 performance beyond the arc. On a team that is scoring 66.4 ppg at the moment, Morgan and Sears are the only ones in double figures, posting 11.5 and 10.6 ppg, respectively. Morgan, just a 35.5 percent shooter from the floor overall, is the one who attacks from the perimeter with his team-best 41 3-pointers, while Sears is more inclined to remain in the paint where he has captured 6.4 rpg in order to give the Bulldogs a rebounding edge of close to four per contest.
Harvard started out rather slow in its meeting with Brown last weekend, shooting a mere 7-of-21 from the floor in the first half, including 1-of-7 beyond the arc. But the squad was given a wake-up call at the break, came out in the second half and sank 53.6 percent from the field in order to force overtime and then claim the win thanks to a 13-of-15 performance at the free- throw line. Siyani Chambers responded with a game-high 21 points, adding seven assists in order to offset seven turnovers, followed by Wesley Saunders with 20 points, seven boards and six assists. Saunders and Chambers, both of whom are playing more than 36 minutes per game this season, spearhead the offensive attack for the team as they combine for close to 30 ppg and 155 of the group's 227 assists. Throw Laurent Rivard (10.9 ppg) into the mix and you have all but 28 of the unit's 106 3-pointers on the year.
With Harvard being a very strong team at home this season and the Bulldogs having trouble taking out opponents on the road, those facts alone should be enough for the Crimson to come away with the victory on Friday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Harvard 68, Yale 59
02/01 10:30:20 ET