Harvard 78, Yale 75

Crimson get past Bulldogs

Harvard keeps pace in tight Ivy League race

By Liz Torres
Globe Correspondent / February 12, 2011

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The Harvard men’s basketball team was going to need to step up its offense to keep pace in the Ivy League, and that’s exactly what it did.

Forward Keith Wright dunked off a Brandyn Curry dish and Curry added two late foul shots as the Crimson secured a 78-75 victory over Yale at Lavietes Pavilion last night.

Harvard (17-4, 6-1) remained a half-game behind Princeton, which routed Columbia, 76-46. The Crimson also won their 11th straight at home.

Yale (11-10, 4-3), led by Greg Mangano (19 points), took a 5-point lead into halftime.

“We were in control most [the game], we were right there with them,’’ said Yale coach James Jones. “We played hard and as good. We created a lot of pressure on their defense.’’

Harvard took its first lead, 20-18, on a pair of Laurent Rivard free throws. Curry recovered a loose ball and fed Rivard for a layup with 28.5 seconds left in the half as Harvard went up, 38-37.

Yale guard Porter Braswell (10 points) made a steal and two foul shots to give the Bulldogs a 39-38 lead heading into the locker room.

Harvard went on an 8-1 run to start the second half for its biggest lead, 46-40, but Yale responded behind Mangano, who buried a 3-pointer and followed with another hoop to make it 46-45. Wright (17 points) hit a 3-pointer to put the Crimson up, 60-57.

Rivard’s 3-pointer made it 66-62 Harvard, and he later converted a layup with 1:58 left to give the Crimson a 70-68 lead. Yale’s Austin Morgan (22 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) hit a pair of foul shots to tie it at 70, but the Bulldogs then missed a few layups. The Crimson meanwhile, were making their free throws to go up, 78-72. Morgan made a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“We’ve played all the best teams in a row . . . now we can play with everybody,’’ said Jones.