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Harvard fends off Saint Joseph's

Jan 1, 2012 - 1:37 AM Cambridge, MA (Sports Network) - Kyle Casey totaled game-highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds as No. 24 Harvard survived a scare from Saint Joseph's but used a late run to record a 74-69 victory at Lavietes Pavilion.

Keith Wright tallied 16 points and five rebounds for the Crimson (12-1), who have won four in a row since a loss to UConn on December 8 and are off to their best start since 1945-46.

"I was telling our kids the whole time if we can hang in there, I didn't think they could shoot 79, 80 percent," Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. "Our defense is what saved us."

Carl Jones notched 22 points and five assists for the Hawks (10-4), whose five-game win streak came to an end. Langston Galloway finished with 15 points, including a 3-for-3 performance from beyond the arc.

Held at arm's length for most of the second half, Harvard was finally sparked by an 11-2 run. Casey hit two from the line and Wright sank back-to-back baskets to get the burst going, then the Crimson got back to 63-61 with 7:01 remaining on a Casey three-point play.

Jones' free throw and a C.J. Aiken basket provided a five-point margin for the visitors, but the hosts crept within a point after Wright and Casey hit consecutive buckets for a 66-65 game with 4:24 left.

Jones connected again for a three-point edge one minute later, but missed a trey after a Casey make, then after Brandyn Curry put Harvard up 69-68, SJU's Chris Wilson failed from long distance and Casey drained his trey to make it 72-68 with 41 seconds remaining.

Laurent Rivard added two free throws with 18 seconds to play, and the Hawks' lone salvo was 1-of-2 from the line by Jones.

"The turnovers really bother me," said SJU head coach Phil Martelli. "The punch in the gut is [going] 9-of-16 from the foul line. We really have to address it and get after it."

A 12-2 run by Saint Joseph's found it ahead by a 27-13 margin on a Ronald Roberts jumper with just under nine minutes played. Galloway aided the run with a pair of three-pointers.

Harvard drew within five on two occasions, at 32-27 on a Casey shot from beyond the arc, and then at 35-30 on a Wright lay-in, but the Hawks kept up the pace, opening up a 40-30 advantage on a Papa Ndao layup with 5:08 remaining.

It was 46-33 with 2:42 on the clock after a long-range make by Jones, and the lead swelled to again to 13 points before an Oliver McNally trey pulled the Crimson to 48-38 at intermission.

Saint Joseph's largest lead in the second half came early, as Jones hit a layup to make it 52-40 within the first minute.

Game Notes

Harvard extended its home win streak to 21 games...SJU won the only previous meeting, an 87-69 decision at Alumni Field House on December 30, 1998...Both teams shot well from the field, as the Crimson connected on 51 percent and the Hawks at 53 percent...Harvard claimed a 31-27 edge on the glass.