The Harvard Crimson continued their surprise run through The Battle of Atlantis as they suffocated the Knights offense in a ten point victory to take the tournament trophy home for the holidays.
Ivy League school against a Conference USA school. The game should have been in the bag, right? Somebody forgot to tell Vegas who set the line at Harvard -4.5 before the game after the Crimson had defeated one ranked team (Florida State) and one unranked team (Utah) to reach the tournament finale. Harvard took that confidence and rolled to a 59-49 game in which they never trailed.
Harvard used their trademark suffocating blend of defense to stifle the Knights at every turn to get out to a 20-9 lead early in the first half and only a late free throw by Keith Clanton reduced that eleven point deficit over the final 31 minutes of the contest. UCF made just 20 of 60 shots from the field which included just 1 of 11 from the 3-point line on the afternoon. Clanton and Marcus Jordan were a combined 9 of 31 from the field while scoring 22 points. The Knights turned it over just five times on the afternoon, but also had a woeful six assists for the game as the team was not able to find many clean looks to the basket all game long.
UCF's free throw shooting graph has looked much like a volatile week on Wall Street and their market crashed once again yesterday as the team went just 8 for 23 from the free throw line as the team shot 35 percent from the line. In two of the three games in this tournament, the Knights have shot below 50 percent from the line. Against lesser opponents, it has not been as costly, but it was clearly a factor in this contest and the team is shooting just 61 percent from the line on the season.
UCF's next game will be this coming Saturday at the UCF Arena against Hartford. Tip-off is set for 5pm ET.