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NCAA Tournament: Poor start dooms cold-shooting Harvard

Published March 23, 2013 7:04 pm

NCAA • Crimson's first field goal was 8 minutes in.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

By the time Harvard point guard Siyani Chambers knocked down his team's first field goal, eight minutes of basketball had gone by — and the Crimson's NCAA Tournament dreams were very much in doubt.

Harvard missed its first 13 attempts as Arizona jumped out to a 17-2 lead.

"In order for us to make this a magical moment for our team ... you probably have to get off to a good start against a team like that," Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. "I really felt that really doomed us from the start."

Harvard knew from watching film of Arizona that the Wildcats were tall and athletic, but Chambers said it was even more overwhelming in real life.

"Film didn't give them as much credibility as they deserve," he said. "They were tremendous on defense. Their rotations, their size, their length caused a lot of problems."

During the regular season, Harvard shot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc, the sixth-best percentage in the country. And their outside shooting helped them upset No. 3 New Mexico on Thursday night. Forward Laurent Rivard led the way, draining 5 of 9 triples against the Lobos.

But on Saturday night in Salt Lake City, the Crimson went cold.

Leading scorer Wesley Saunders hit just one of his 11 attempts. Chambers was 2 of 8.

Rivard was 1 of 6 from distance, and Harvard made just 5 of 18 as a team. In all, Harvard shot just 27.6 percent from the field, making just 16 of its 58 attempts on the night.

Amaker said he thought his team struggled to bounce back after its rough start.

"The shots we missed at the beginning were open," said Christian Webster, Harvard's lone senior. Webster finished with eight points on 3-of-10 shooting. "We should have made them. If we would have made them, maybe the game would have been different."

Arizona, meanwhile, blistered the nets, shooting better than 55 percent on the night.

"Once we missed some, we kind of got our heads down and they took advantage," Amaker said.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @aaronfalk