Cambridge, MA --- Oliver McNally (San Francisco, CA) led all players with 20 points to lift Division I Harvard to a 69-54 victory over visiting WPI in a non-conference men's basketball matchup on Tuesday evening.
Harvard, who was picked second in the preseason Ivy League poll, is now 6-2 while the Engineers, ranked #23 in the latest D3hoops.com Division III Top 25, slips to 5-2 on the season.
The hosts returned for the locker room after halftime with a 38-25 lead only to see the Engineers opened the second stanza with a 5-0 run to pull within eight, 38-30. The Crismon quickly answered with a jumper by Keith Wright (Suffolk, VA) in the paint and then four straight converted free throws by McNally put Harvard back in control.
Trailing 54-41, Jeffrey Robinson (Granby, CT) fueled a 7-0 WPI rally with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to slice the Harvard advantage to 54-46 with 11 minutes remaining. The game remained tight the rest of the way with the Engineers never getting closer than eight but the Crimson's 15-point final margin their largest of the contest.
Robinson paced the WPI offensive attack with 16 points, 13 in the second half. Jaime Shannon (Lowell, MA) sparked the Engineers off the bench with a season-high 11 points. The WPI reserves gave the Boynton Hillers a 22-11 edge in bench scoring over their Harvard counterparts.
WPI enjoyed a 29-26 advantage on the glass, with Ben Etten (Hollis, NH) and Jerome Stewart (Bloomfield, CT) each corralling seven rebounds. The Engineers also made more field goals than the Crimson (19-16) but saw the hosts connect on 28-of-34 free throws on the night.
Christian Webster (Washington, DC) chipped with 17 points for the Crimson while Brandyn Curry (Huntersville, NC) tossed in 11. McNally and Webster combined for seven 3-pointers while Wright added nine rebounds.
With the victory, Harvard wins its seventh straight over WPI and now holds a 17-6 edge all-time in the series. It marked the first time since 1989 the two teams had meet and the Engineers have not beaten the Crimson since a pair of wins ten days apart in January of 1945.
The Engineers return to the wonderful world of Division III on Thursday with a key non-conference home matchup with defending Little East Conference champion Rhode Island College. Start time is slated for 7pm. Harvard closes out a brief two-game homestand on Saturday with a 2pm date with Boston University.