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Harvard 78, Boston College 69: Eagles' Ivy-League Woes Continue

CHESTNUT HILL - Something about Ivy League opponents always seems to bring out the worst in Boston College.

After losing an early-season contest to Yale, the Eagles struggled against Ivy League foe and in-town rival Harvard throughout the final 10 minutes of the first half and much of the second half.

BC was able to hang around for most of the game, but in crunch time, the Eagles just couldn't get the job done.

Harvard's Laurent Rivard scored a game-high 23 points as the Crimson defeated in-town rival Boston College, 78-69, for the third consecutive time on Wednesday night at Conte Forum.

"I though Harvard played a terrific basketball game," said Boston College head coach Steve Donahue. "I thought they persevered through possessions, grinded it out when they had to. They're just a real good, experienced basketball team."

After shooting 37.5% from the floor in the first half, Harvard made 50% of its shots (16-of-32) in the second half. The Crimson were nearly perfect from the free-throw line, sinking 23-of-24 shots from the charity stride.

"We have familiarity with winning here, and that certainly that doesn't hurt us," said Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker. "We've been playing well, practicing well. I think our kids are confident."

Rivard, who entered the game ranked second in the country in free-throw shooting at 96.7% (29-of-30), made all six of his free-throw attempts and shot 46.6% from the field.

The Crimson had five players score in double-digits. Keith Wright added 15 points, Christian Webster added 13 points, Oliver McNally scored 12 points and Brandon Curry totaled 10 points and eight assists for Harvard.

Joe Trapani led the Eagles with 21 points and five assists. Reggie Jackson totaled 18 points, five assists and seven rebounds and Corey Raji added 12 points and six rebounds for BC.

"I feel like we just came out almost like we were just trying to beat Harvard on our own," Trapani said. "That obviously hasn't worked in the past and we kind of got away from what has made us successful."

Boston College (11-4) opened the game on a 12-4 run and led 22-15 with nearly ten minutes left in the opening half. Yet Harvard (10-3) remained persistent, closing out the half on an 18-7 run to take a 33-29 lead into halftime.

"We weren't able to match their mental toughness, and obviously we didn't play our game in the first half," said Trapani.

The Crimson didn't let up in the opening minutes of the second half, building their lead to 41-36 with 16:48 remaining in the half. BC trimmed the lead to 45-44 on Trapani's layup with 12:26 to go.

But once again, Harvard had an answer for the Eagles' run, as Wright's dunked over Trapani with 12:14 left started a 9-0 run for the Crimson, giving them a 54-44 advantage at the ten minute mark. 

Boston College made the game interesting in the end, trimming the deficit to 70-65 with 2:11 left. Trailing 70-59 with 3:51 left, BC used a 6-0 run to bring the game within five with 2:11 left. Yet again, Harvard held off the Eagles surge for the final time, using an 8-4 run to close the door on BC. 

"We didn't play a great game, and they obviously had something to do with it," Donahue said. "They're a good basketball team. They were definitely the better team tonight, and we've got to learn from it and move forward."

The Eagles finished the game 29-for-57 from the field (50.9%) and 7-for-18 from three-point range (38.9%). Harvard made 25-of-56 field goals (44.6%) and 5-of-15 threes (33.3%) in the win.

BC amassed 29 rebounds, 18 assists, seven steals and had 14 turnovers while Harvard totaled 31 rebounds, 14 assists, three steals and 10 turnovers.

Boston College resumes ACC play on Saturday when it hosts Georgia Tech at 4 p.m. EST. Harvard travels to face Dartmouth in a matinée match-up on Saturday at 4 p.m. EST.