Leading by seven points at halftime and having withstood Saunders spending 10 minutes of the first half on the bench with foul trouble, Harvard withstood the early second-half push from the Bearcats. Jackson’s dunk while being fouled and subsequent free throw pulled Cincinnati within 42-39 and Titus Rubles’ driving layup later trimmed the margin to 45-43.
The Crimson then forced turnovers on three straight possessions. Saunders flipped in a driving finger roll to push the lead to five. As Harvard went to the bench for a timeout, Chambers grinned and Amaker pumped his fists in approval.
Harvard was not going to be denied another moment. They got second and third chances at their own misses. They littered the court scrounging for loose balls.
Cincinnati went more than 5 minutes without scoring.
But the Bearcats fought back and cut the lead to one before Chambers stepped up. He hit a pullup 17-footer with 1:57 left for a 56-53 lead. Kyle Casey then drew an offensive foul against Kilpatrick with 1:33 left.
“We all talked about just living up to our values and our standards and doing the things that have gotten us to this point,” Saunders said. “We felt as though if we were able to do that, that we would have a great chance of coming out with a victory. Luckily we were able to do that.”