Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Chambers, Harvard run away from BC
By Jack McCluskey
NEWTON, Mass. -- When the buzzer sounded to end the first half of Tuesday night's game against Boston College, the Harvard bench emptied and the Crimson jogged across the court and into the tunnel that leads to the visitors locker room.
While his teammates hustled, Siyani Chambers walked slowly off the court. In that moment, with everyone around him moving quickly, the fleet freshman point guard suddenly looked slow.
As the last of his teammates left the floor, Crimson coach Tommy Amaker paused as he led the coaches off. He motioned to Chambers to catch up, and Chambers went from a slow walk to a ginger jog.
You could say Chambers, who leads the Crimson in minutes this season with a shade under 37 per game, looked world weary in that moment.
Freshman Siyani Chambers (21 points, 6 assists) was "magnificent" against BC, said Harvard coach Tommy Amaker.
You could say that, but the more likely explanation is this: Chambers was probably just preserving as much energy as possible.
And Amaker is glad he did, as the 6-foot, 170-pounder turned the second half into his personal showcase.
“I thought Siyani Chambers was magnificent, with his ballhandling, scoring, quarterbacking our team,” Amaker said. “He certainly didn’t look like or play like a freshman. I’m very pleased with his progress, his performance, and I thought he was the difference for us without a doubt.”
The point guard, for his part, said the difference in the second half of the Crimson’s 79-63 win -- their fifth straight against the Eagles -- was defense.
“Coach came back and at halftime he really stressed defense and trying to get some stops and no second shots,” Chambers said. “Just keep trying to get stops and have good possessions on the other end.”
Early in the second half Chambers came up with a steal, stepping into a passing lane and racing the other way, where he took the contact on the drive, made the layup, then let out a yell as he flexed his arms. The freshman then calmly stepped to the free throw line and swished the free throw to complete the three-point play.
That gave Harvard a 10-point lead at 39-29.
Later in the half, Harvard got the ball of a BC turnover. Chambers passed to Christian Webster for a 3, and when the ball ripped through the twine to push the Crimson lead to 14 Chambers pumped his fist before running back on D.
Then after another BC turnover, Chambers hit his own 3, off a kick-out pass from the paint, to make it a 17-point lead.
“He’s a little dynamo, in terms of handling the ball and pushing it,” Amaker said. “You can see his quickness and his ballhandling skills. He got to the rim, he finished on the inside, he finished at the foul line. I was very pleased with his floor game. He doesn’t have to score 21 points for me to be very pleased with him, but it doesn’t hurt that he did.”
Chambers finished with a career-high 21 points, 6 assists and 2 rebounds in 37 minutes. His point guard counterpart Olivier Hanlan finished with just four points on 1-for-8 shooting in 33 minutes.
“I was just taking what the defense gave me,” Chambers said. “I was just trying to make plays for my teammates and somehow the plays opened up for me. My teammates gave me a lot of great passes and a lot of great screens and a lot of great openings to make those plays. I just tried to finish what they started.”
The dynamic newcomer finished things in fine fashion for Harvard on Tuesday.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.