Harvard beats Yale 70-58 to earn NCAA berth

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Harvard became the first team to reach the NCAA tournament, and the Crimson did it on rival Yale’s court.

“You couldn’t ask for much better,” said senior guard Brandyn Curry, who had 14 points in in the 70-58 win over the Bulldogs on Friday night that secured the outright Ivy League championship. “It means a lot to come back after everything and win here, in this place.”

Curry was on this same floor three years ago, when Harvard lost to Princeton on a buzzer-beater in a conference playoff game. That was the last time someone other than Harvard represented the Ivy League in the NCAA tournament.

This year, the Crimson jumped out to a 16-2 lead. They never trailed and led by 18 in the second half.

Siyani Chambers scored 17 points and Steve Moundou-Missi added 16 for Harvard (25-4, 12-1), which won its seventh straight since losing its only conference game last month, to Yale in Cambridge.

“I thought we made a concerted effort to respond (to that loss), and we’ve been on a mission since then,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said.

Harvard, which had already secured at least a share of the Ivy title for the fourth straight year, will make its third straight trip to the NCAA tournament, after a drought that dated to 1946.

“All the hard work we’ve put in, it’s paid off,” Curry said. “We know that we’re going now.”

Justin Sears had 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulldogs (15-12, 9-4). He was 11 of 16 from the floor. The rest of the team was 7 of 34.

Harvard shot 57 percent, while holding Yale to 36 percent. The Bulldogs missed all 14 of their 3-point attempts.

Yale had one second-half run. The Bulldogs cut it to 59-51 on Brandon Sharrod’s free throw with 3½ minutes left after drawing Moundou-Missi’s fifth foul.

But Chambers answered with a 3-pointer on the other end. Another 3 by Laurent Rivard pushed the lead back to 12 at 65-53 and Yale was forced to foul.

“We had our chances, even with a 17-point lead,” Yale coach James Jones said.

Harvard scored the first nine points and held Yale without a field goal for better than four minutes. A layup from Sears broke the drought, but only interrupted the early Harvard run.

Sears, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds in Yale’s upset of Harvard last month, kept the Bulldogs within striking distance, scoring 13 first-half points. His dunk on a wrap-around feed from Brandon Sherrod cut it to 27-19.

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