Harvard Trendspotting

The numbers: 6-3 overall, 173th RPI, 160th Sagarin, 174th Pomeroy
The recent results: lost 67-56 at Lehigh (12/10), won 91-79 vs. Long Island (12/14).
The upcoming schedule: at Albany (2-5) on Saturday, Colgate (4-5) on Tuesday, at Boston College (6-2) on Thursday

Critical stretch
With just four games remaining on Harvard’s non-conference schedule, the Crimson is somewhat at a crossroads. The squad sits just three wins away from its first nine-win non-league campaign since 1957-58, and two victories away from joining the 1995-96 and 2002-03 teams as the only clubs to carry eight wins into the Ivy slate in the Sullivan era.

But without junior center Brian Cusworth, the Crimson struggled on the offensive end of the floor, averaging just less than 60 points a game against strong defensive units in Boston University and Lehigh. Harvard broke through on Wednesday night, as captain Matt Stehle took advantage of an undersized Long Island frontcourt and posted a 27-point, 11-rebound performance. The remaining four teams on the Crimson’s non-conference slate, however, have the size that the Blackbirds lacked, meaning that the perimeter players will need to step it up until Cusworth returns in order to take the pressure off Stehle.

Opponents keying on Goffredo
Junior guard Jim Goffredo has contributed 14.3 points per game, but on just 41.7 percent shooting from the field and 30.5 percent from behind the arc. The struggles from three have resulted from the increased pressure that teams are putting on Goffredo to keep him from getting a clear look at the basket. Goffredo has been able to take advantage of that by driving for layups and pull-up jumpers, leading to his 27-for-49 performance from inside the arc thus far this season.

Z-Mart off the bench
Senior Zach Martin seems to be settling into the sixth-man role quite nicely for the Crimson, averaging 15.6 minutes and 5.8 points per contest. With all of the attention paid to Goffredo and the Crimson interior, Martin has found his niche beyond the arc, nailing 10 of his 24 attempts from three this season. The 6-4 forward provided Harvard some much-needed versatility, moving to his more natural swingman position this year after spending a season backing up the four spot.Martin showed off some of what he learned last season late in last Saturday’s meeting with Lehigh, sparking a late Crimson run by using his post moves to convert two tough baskets in the paint. But as the numbers show, Martin finds himself truly at home sneaking around the perimeter looking to fire off a three-pointer.

Keep it fresh
While it appears that junior forward Brian Darcy will get his fourth-consecutive start on Saturday in place of Cusworth, freshman forward Evan Harris looks to be the first big man off the bench when the seven-footer returns to the lineup. After playing just one minute in the Crimson’s first six contests, Harris has seen 38 minutes of action in the past three games and his 9.8 minutes-per-game average is better than Darcy’s and that of sophomore forward Brad Unger. Harris has made the most of his opportunities over the past three contests, pulling down 11 boards and adding 15 points, nine of which came from the free throw line.

Michael James

Michael James wrote 2 posts

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