CAMBRIDGE, MA—Yale’s Greg Mangano scored 22 on 7 for 12 shooting Saturday night, but it was not enough to unseat the Crimson in Cambridge, as Harvard fought through for a 66-51 victory. The Crimson, who are now 23-3, tied their program record, set last year (23-7), for wins in a single season.
For much of the first half, Harvard looked set to match—or perhaps even exceed—its 65-35 drubbing of the Bulldogs in New Haven on January 27th. After giving up an opening three to Bulldogs star forward Greg Mangano, the Crimson ticked off a 23-6 run through the first 10 minutes of play. Crimson cocaptain Oliver McNally was 3 for 3 for 8 points during that stretch, including a pair from long range.
The Bulldogs, however, were determined to avoid a repeat performance. Down 35-15 with just under 4 minutes in the 1st, Yale coach James Jones called his team’s third timeout in a desperate attempt to staunch the bleeding, Out of the huddle, the Bulldogs mounted an 11-0 run to close out the 1st frame. Senior guard Reggie Willhite capped the stand on a jumper with three seconds left to send Yale off the court down 9, 35-26.
Coming into the second half, sophomore forward Jeremiah Kreisberg put down a jumper to extend the run to 13-0. While the scoreless run would end on the Crimson’s next possession, Yale continued to hack at Harvard’s lead. With 14:46 left to play, Greg Mangano hit a turnaround jumper along the baseline to draw the Bulldogs within 5.
In the end, however, it was Harvard’s guards who secured the Crimson victory. Up 47-41 with 9:57 remaining, Corbin Miller and Brandyn Curry struck in quick succession to put the Crimson ahead by 11. Harvard would ride that margin to a 66-51 final.
Curry, who is typically Harvard’s top facilitator, led the Crimson offense on 6 for 9 shooting for 18 points. “We depend a lot on what the matchups are,” said Curry after the game. “Tonight, Mangano’s tough down low, and they had a couple guards that were hurt, so I was just attacking all night,”
Despite facing both Mangano and Kreisberg down low, Harvard dominated the scoring in the paint, 32-10. The interior play was significantly more lopsided than it had been in New Haven, where Harvard had 20 points to Yale’s 12 in the entire game. Harvard also out-rebounded the Bulldogs 33-22.
“We’re certainly pleased with a tremendous defensive effort by our kids, and we certainly need it with the way Mangano can score inside and out,” said Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker.
With the win, Harvard improves to 23-2 and ties a program record for wins set last season. The Crimson will stay at home next weekend to host the Princeton Tigers and the Penn Quakers.