<
>

Harvard weathers BU storm, wins in OT

12/7/2013

BOSTON -- Time after time Saturday afternoon, Siyani Chambers, Wesley Saunders and the Crimson looked like they were ready to pull away from their hosts at Case Gymnasium.

And time after time, Maurice Watson Jr. and the Terriers wouldn’t let them.

So with time ticking down in the second half, and the Crimson leading by just four after a deep, deep John Papale 3-pointer banked in (his first make of the game), of course it was Watson who poked the ball away from Kyle Casey as he attempted to dribble upcourt against the BU pressure. And of course the ball eventually found its way to Papale in the left corner, where the marksman nailed another 3 to cut the deficit to one and bring the crowd to full throat.

“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis blasted from the sound system, the chorus seemingly apropos: “Can we go back, this is the moment/Tonight is the night, we fight ‘til it’s over.”

And after Steve Moundou-Missi hit one of two freebies, clanging the second, there was Watson again. Travis Robinson corralled the rebound and found the 5-foot-10, 165-pound speedster, who sprinted upcourt and -- seeing no one stepping up to stop him -- took it all the way to the rim, where he lofted a high shot over an outstretched defender, the ball bouncing softly off the backboard and the rim and in for the tie.

Chambers had a good look with a few seconds left, but missed. And Saunders threw up a one-handed attempt at a tip-in, but it went just wide and the horn sounded.

Someone threw the ball up in the air and the crowd celebrated like, well, let’s let Macklemore finish the chorus: “So we put our hands up, like the ceiling can’t hold us/Like the ceiling can’t hold us.”

Unfortunately for the denizens of The Roof -- as Case is called -- the game wasn’t over yet, and in the OT period Saunders shook off an extended scoreless drought to score seven of his game-high 25 points as turnovers and missed free throws doomed the Terriers in a 79-68 Crimson win.

After allowing a seven-point lead to evaporate in the final minute, the veteran Crimson showed their tourney-tested mettle and outscored the Terriers 13-2 in the extra period.

“We thought we had it in regulation,” Chambers (16 points, four rebounds and three assists) said. “Then we came down the stretch and they made some tough plays to get back into it and tie it up. The momentum was changing and for us to go out there and work as a team, get buckets and get stops, it was a relief because we thought we lost it for a second.”

The Terriers thought they had it for about as long. And then it got away, just as quickly.

Did the hard charge to tie it take too much out of the Terriers?

“If we’re going into overtime, I’d rather be the team that just had a run,” BU coach Joe Jones said. “Usually they run with that momentum, but tonight we weren’t able to capitalize on that.”

“We just stayed together,” Saunders said of the difference in OT. “We kinda cut down on some of the silly mistakes we were making towards the end of the game. I think we just stuck to our principles and didn’t really do anything outside of ourselves in the overtime.

“And I think that really helped us pull out the win.”

Though the Terriers fought ‘til it was (almost) over, when the final buzzer sounded it was the Crimson the Roof couldn’t hold on Saturday.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.