Monday, February 25, 2013
Harvard's Saunders player of the week
By Jack McCluskey
With just two weekends left in the Ivy League season, Harvard’s Wesley Saunders has the surprising Crimson atop the standings.
After averaging 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in road wins over Brown and Yale this past weekend, Saunders earned a share of his fifth Ivy Player of the Week honor, the league announced on Monday. Saunders shared the award with Princeton’s Ian Hummer.
The Crimson sophomore leads the Ancient Eight in scoring with 16.7 points per game for the season, and is at 17.9 ppg during conference play.
On Friday night, Saunders had 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists in a 65-47 win over Brown. On Saturday night, Saunders had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in a 72-66 win over Yale.
Saunders also landed a spot on the “SportsCenter” Top 10 plays reel Saturday night, for a one-handed dunk in the first half versus Yale.
The weekend sweep improved Harvard’s record to 17-7 overall and 9-1 in Ivy play, positioning Tommy Amaker’s young squad to make an unexpected run at the school’s second straight NCAA tournament berth. Before the season began, Harvard lost would-be co-captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry to an academic cheating scandal that has embroiled the Cambridge campus.
But thanks in large part to the play of Saunders and to the scintillating emergence of freshman point guard Siyani Chambers, the drop-off from a season ago has been minimal and the Crimson are again making a run at the postseason.
Next up for the Crimson is a trip to second-place Princeton on Friday, and to fifth-place Penn on Saturday.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.