Harvard (3-3) at Boston College (3-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 4, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Conte Forum (8,606) -- Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Harvard 3-1, BC 2-1. Away Record: Harvard 0-2, BC 1-1. Neutral Record: Harvard 0-0, BC 0-2. Conference Record: Harvard 0-0, BC 0-0. Series Record: Boston College leads, 32-13.
GAMES NOTES: A cross-town rivalry will be re-ignited when the Harvard Crimson square off with the Boston College Eagles in an Olde Town showdown at Conte Forum Tuesday night.
Harvard rebounded from a two-game losing skid with a 73-64 win at home over Fordham last time out. That win evened up the Crimson's overall record at 3-3 but did nothing for the 0-2 mark the team has on the road. Harvard will continue its tour of the Northeast with games against Connecticut, Boston University and Holy Cross in its next three matchups.
Boston College is also fortunate to be coming off of a win as the Eagles downed Penn State 73-61 in University Park. The win did a bit to erase the embarrassing home loss to Bryant (56-54) in the previous matchup and pushed the Eagles to 3-4 overall. Boston College is also 2-1 at home where it will play its next seven games.
Although Boston College leads the all-time series 32-13, Harvard has won each of the last four contests. All four of those victories came on the road including a 67-46 win last season.
Free-throw shooting and solid defense keyed Harvard's victory over Fordham. The Crimson held the Rams to 39.7 percent shooting in the game and held a massive 29-8 edge in points from the free-throw line. In fact the Crimson had twice as many made foul shots as the Rams had attempts. That helped the Crimson overcome 20 turnovers. Wesley Saunders led four players in double figures with 17 points.
The Crimson have been scoring a healthy 69.8 points per game this season despite shooting just 44.7 percent from the field. In comparison to the rest of the Ivy League those are the top marks but they don't rank in the top 100 nationally. On the other end Harvard is surrendering an even 65.0 points per game while opponents shoot 42.0 percent. Saunders (15.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.5 apg) is the lead scoring option while also putting up strong numbers on the boards and in assists. Also running in the backcourt is Siyani Chambers (11.3 ppg, 5.0 apg) who is less of a scorer than Saunders but has been able to set up his teammates well. Laurent Rivard (!1.8 ppg) adds even more punch from the wings. Harvard is decidedly weaker up front with Jonah Travis (9.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) the top option, though he comes off the bench.
After struggling on offense against Bryant, Boston College was able to light up the scoreboard a bit more against Penn State. Although the team shot just 42.4 percent overall, the Eagles did nail eight 3-pointers and got 27 points from the free-throw line. Olivier Hanlan was the lead scorer in the game for Boston College with 22 points, 15 of which came from the charity stripe.
The Eagles score 67.6 points per game and shoot 43.0 percent from the floor and own a scoring differentials of -0.7. Boston College claims a positive differential on the boards though (+2.8). Top scorer Ryan Anderson (14.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg) had a bit of a down game against Penn State with only six points and nine rebounds but has otherwise been the lynch-pin for the Eagles this season. His ability to score and rebound has been vital to a team that lacks a ton of depth. Hanlan (14.1 ppg) is also scoring well this season, while Joe Rahon (11.0 ppg, 3.3 apg) has made solid contributions as well. Patrick Heckman (8.6 ppg) has worked his way into the starting lineup after performing so admirably off the bench in the first six games.
The Eagles would like to believe that the loss to Bryant was just a minor setback and after a tough road win, it certainly looks like that could be the case. Harvard will keep this game close but Boston College should ultimately prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boston College 67, Harvard 65
12/04 10:54:34 ET