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Harvard 67, Boston College 46: Stingy Crimson Defense Stifles Eagles

If Boston College athletics truly strives to be Harvard Monday through Friday and Alabama on Saturdays, getting back in the win column against the Crimson basketball team would be a fine start.

For the fourth consecutive season, Harvard left Conte Forum with a win in front of a sold out Conte Forum crowd of 8,606. But unlike BC's three previous meetings with the Crimson, this one wasn't considered an upset.

Harvard's Laurent Rivard scored 18 points, 15 in the first half, on 7-of-12 shooting to lead the Crimson to a 67-46 victory over the Eagles. Three other Crimson -- Corbin Miller (12 points), Brandyn Curry (11) and Christian Webster (10) -- scored in double figures as No. 24 ranked Harvard improves to 11-1 on the year.

Dennis Clifford led the way for BC with 14 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. Patrick Heckmann added 13 points, six assists and five rebounds off the bench.

The Eagles actually jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the first half as the Crimson started the night ice cold from the field. Harvard's first three points all came from the charity stripe. But the Crimson began heating up with 10 minutes left in the first half, going on a 19-2 run and taking a 40-33 lead into the locker room at half.

Harvard opened up the second half with two buckets to stretch the lead to 11 and never looked back, though at times the second half slowed to a crawl. BC and Harvard combined to score just 15 points in the second half's first ten minutes.

Hats off to the Crimson who managed to climb out of a double digit hole and dominate the Eagles for the game's final 30 minutes. The Harvard defense -- one of the best in the nation -- notched 12 steals and forced 17 BC turnovers. The Crimson D entered the game 13th in the country in scoring defense, and has now held five straight opponents under 49 points.

For BC, it was a second half to forget as the Eagles offense was dominated by the stingy Crimson D. The Eagles managed just 13 points in the second half, going ice cold from the floor. BC players combined to go 4-22 from the floor in the second half (18.2 percent), including 0-7 from three and failing to score a bucket in the game's final eight minutes.

Overall, Donahue was pleased with the defensive effort, but was clearly frustrated with the offensive output, particularly in the second half.

"I just thought we lost our way offensively in the second half," head coach Steve Donahue said. "[We] battled really hard defensively for long stretches. It seemed like every time we shot ourselves in the foot offensively, they took advantage of it. Defensively, I thought we did a very good job, most of the game. But this was offense in the second half for sure."

The Eagles D did hold the Crimson to 41.5 percent shooting from the floor, forced 13 turnovers and kept Harvard off the foul line for the most part. But the offense couldn't get anything going in the second half and for long stretches of the game.

More concerning for me was the return of the bad Matt Humphrey, who finished the night shooting 2-for-10, 1-for-5 from three and committing two turnovers.

Lonnie Jackson lead the Eagles in minutes with 35 but managed just four points. Heckmann (34 minutes), Humphrey (31), Dennis Clifford (27) and Jordan Daniels (20) logged the majority of the minutes for BC. Somewhat curiously, Donahue gave John Cahill 13 minutes of work but received minimal production from the guard.

The Eagles have a quick turnaround as they host the struggling Rhode Island Rams (2-11) on Monday, January 2 at Conte Forum. Tip is at 1 PM.

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