Rushed Reactions: #12 Harvard 61, #5 Cincinnati 57Posted by Kenny Ocker on March 20th, 2014
Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion, @RTCMWregion, @RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion. Kenny Ocker is an RTC columnist and correspondent. He is covering the Spokane pods of the East and West regionals this week. He filed this story after 12-seed Harvard upset 5-seed Cincinnati, 61-57, on Thursday afternoon.
Three Key Takeaways.
- Cincinnati is nothing without Sean Kilpatrick. Despite being the focus of the Harvard’s defense all game, the Bearcats’ guard led his team with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting. The Crimson controlled his opportunities with the ball, holding him to four field goal attempts in the entire second half. But only one other player scored in double figures, forward Justin Jackson, who went 5-of-14 from the field. The Bearcats ended up shooting 21-of-56 as a team and had 11 turnovers, and were nearly unwatchable offensively for much of the game. So, the usual for Mick Cronin’s offense.
- Harvard’s frontcourt can bang with anybody. Cincinnati is one of the roughest and toughest teams in the country, relying on its bruising interior play to set Kilpatrick free on the perimeter. But Crimson starters Steve Mondou-Missi, Kyle Casey and Wesley Saunders combined for 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting, and Mondou-Missi and Casey both had rim-rattling slams. Defensively, they held Jackson and Titus Rubles to 8-of-23 shooting. The rebounding margin came out even at the end of the game, too.
- You might want to watch Laurent Rivard. The senior sniper for the Crimson had three three-pointers in three shots in the first half, picked up a couple more points in the second half and found himself in a couple clutch situations, saving the ball off of a Cincinnati player under his own basket, then picked up a heads-up steal after a missed free throw. It was fitting that he caught the lofted inbounds pass as time expired, then sprinted straight to his team’s bench to celebrate.
Star of the Game. Siyani Chambers, Harvard. The Crimson point guard shot 2-of-10 from the field, but finished with 11 points and cracked the Cincinnati press after a couple early turnovers. His late steal with a 56-53 lead gave the Crimson a two-score lead in the final minute, which proved insurmountable.
Quotable. “Today’s game is anything but an upset. They’ve got a great team.” – Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin.
Sights and Sounds. Cincinnati’s special NCAA Tournament uniforms are better than last year but still pretty much horrendous … North Dakota State’s fans have funny accents (at least to this Pacific Northwest lifer), and funnier commentaries on everything going on on the court. It’s like having Stadler and Waldorf in “Fargo.” … Pour one out for Dave Trimmer, a local freelancer whose laptop caught the brunt of a Harvard kickout pass, shattering its screen.
What’s Next? The Crimson either end up against one of the tournament favorites in #4-seeded Michigan State or #13-seeded Delaware on Saturday in Spokane. As for Cincinnati, they’re headed back to the Buckeye State without an NCAA Tournament win. Program-wise, the Bearcats only have three wins in the NCAA Tournament since 2005.