Posted: 10:24 p.m. Thursday, March 21, 2013
By Nicolas Lewis
I was almost right about Saint Mary's being able to make it past both Middle Tennessee and Memphis. Another 14-seed, Davidson, nearly slid by Marquette earlier in the day. Tommy Amaker's Harvard squad finally ended the first full day of games with an upset.
I knew that Wesley Saunders was a great player, and that Laurent RIvard had been a regular performer from behind the arc, but I just wasn't sure if those two would be able to match up against the dynamic duo of New Mexico's Tony Snell and Kendall Williams.
The results? I was wrong. Shocking, I know. Sure, the Crimson struggled to tame center Alex Kirk, who finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds - largely because Steve Mondou-Missi and Kenyatta Smith couldn't stay out of foul trouble in the middle third of the game. But the UNM offense doesn't run through Kirk. It runs through Snell and Williams.
Snell and WIlliams finished the game 5-for-17 from the field and 1-for-8 from deep, and they only made it to the free throw line thrice all game. It doesn't matter how well Kirk plays if Snell and Williams struggle that much (17 points). Cameron Bairstow contributed 12 points and 7 rebounds, but also turned the ball over four times.
Saunders and Rivard, on the other hand, finished with a combined 33 points on 10-17 FG and 5-10 3PT, while neither Mondou-Missi nor Smith fouled out until the last minute of play. Like the class act they are, Harvard stole the ball with seconds left and, instead of some runout, highlight reel dunk, they just dribbled out the win. Good on you , Tommy Amaker.
Arizona will be an entirely different challenge in the Round of 32, but the Crimson certainly seem up to it.