No. 23 Harvard beats Boston College for fourth straight season

BOSTON -- Harvard coach Tommy Amaker joked about the high shooting standard he's set for Laurent Rivard. He certainly lived up to the challenge against Boston College.

Rivard scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting to lead Harvard (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) to a 67-46 win over Boston College on Thursday night.

"We like to tease him that he's the second-best shooter in the city," Amaker said. "The other is Ray Allen. We take pride in what the Celtics do, how they find Ray Allen. We feel like we have to find Laurent."

Harvard fell into a big hole early before Rivard entered the game and got the offense going. He went 6 of 10 in the first half, nailing 3 of 6 from behind the 3-point line.

"Coach always says to stay loose on the bench," the 6-foot-5 Rivard said. "That's what I try to do."

After BC scored 14 of the game's initial 17 points, Rivard scored 15 in a span of 6:30 that turned an 11-point deficit into an eight-point lead.

"I get upset because every time I think he shoots the ball I think he's going to make it," Amaker said. "I know it's not fair to him, but that's how much confidence I have in him."

Corbin Miller scored 12 points, Brandyn Curry 11 and Christian Webster 10 for the Crimson (11-1). It was the fourth straight season that Harvard has beaten Boston College on the Eagles' home court.

Dennis Clifford led Boston College (5-8) with 14 points and Patrick Heckmann scored 13. The loss snapped the Eagles' three-game winning streak.

Harvard won easily -- and its 50-percent performance (10 of 20) from behind the 3-point line played a big part.

"They're a very good basketball team and they take advantage of it. They shot the ball extremely well tonight," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "They shared it like they normally do. We hold them to 42 percent and (force) turnovers and keep them off the foul line. I think we've got a chance and unfortunately we just didn't play as well offensively in the second half as I would like."

The Eagles didn't have a basket in the final 8:30 and shot just 18.2 percent (4 of 22) in the second half.

The Crimson led by seven at the half and scored the first two baskets after intermission, opening a 44-33 edge on Kyle Casey's layup 1:11 into the period. Both teams then went cold from the outside and combined for just eight points over the next 8 minutes.

BC had closed it to 46-38 and Matt Humphrey missed a dunk before Miller nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing a little over a minute later that gave Harvard a 49-36 lead with 10:58 to go.

The Eagles never closed the gap below eight points the rest of the way.

Curry's two free throws capped a 12-0 run that made it 64-43 with just under 5 minutes left.

The Eagles scored just 10 points in the opening 17:30 of the second half.

Harvard, which missed its first eight shots from the field and fell behind by 11 points early in the game, recovered and pulled to a 40-33 halftime edge.

After their poor shooting start, the Crimson hit 13 of 22 shots from the floor, including 5 of 11 from beyond the 3-point line.

BC started strong, finding easy looks with backdoor cuts and swinging the ball quickly for open shots to take a 14-3 lead 5:30 into the game. Seven-foot center Clifford triggered the quick start, scoring five points and clogging the middle, challenging a number of shots by the Crimson.

But Harvard called a timeout after its slow start and responded by outscoring the Eagles 27-8 over the next 9:05. Curry had the Crimson's first basket of the game -- a short jumper in the lane -- over 6 minutes into the contest.

Rivard then started nailing shots from the outside to help get Harvard going, hitting consecutive 3s midway into the half that triggered a 19-2 spree over a 5:34 stretch. He scored 10 points during the run.

Harvard plays its first ever home game as a ranked team when it hosts Saint Joseph's on Saturday.