Chambers, Crimson hold off Huskies

December 7, 2016 GMT

Siyani Chambers paced the Harvard men’s basketball team to its best offensive rhythm all season last night in a 86-80 victory against Northeastern that was closer than it probably should have been at Lavietes Pavilion.

“I think he’s in a really good place with the balance of scoring and finding people,” said coach Tommy Amaker, who tied Frank Sullivan atop the Crimson wins list at 178. “We needed him. We needed every minute out of him. I do think he’s in a really good rhythm of seeing things, and shots are falling, and he’s picking his spots. It’s nice to see that out of him. He deserves it.”

The point guard was the sparkplug, and his teammates lit it up. The Crimson (2-3) made 14-of-27 3-pointers and had 21 assists on 29 field goals as they showed just how dangerous they can be.

And after coming back from a torn ACL that cost him 2015-16, Chambers is starting to make strides. He had 11 assists to finish with double-digit helpers for a second consecutive game. Corey Johnson and Seth Towns were the primary beneficiaries. Johnson finished with seven 3-pointers and Towns had a career-high 24 points in the win.

“It comes easy with the people I’m playing with,” Towns said. “Especially with (Chambers) leading the way. He’s the best point guard I’ve ever played with. He makes it really easy.”

As easy as it seemed to be, things got dicey late. Harvard led by 20 with 12:40 to play, but the Huskies (4-5) employed a full-court press that helped them get back in it. The visitors went on a 12-0 run and eventually whittled the deficit to four with 2:51 to play.

On this night, though, Harvard’s offense was too good to let it falter. An NBA-range 3-pointer by Corbin Miller with 1:43 left pushed the lead to seven and helped the Crimson stave off pesky NU.

Jeremy Miller had 26 points and T.J. Williams chipped in with 20 for the Huskies.

Sacred Heart 91, UMass-Lowell 82 — In Fairfield, Conn., Quincy McKnight scored a career-high 34 points on 11-of-21 shooting for his sixth 20-plus effort in nine games and had five assists to power the Pioneers (4-5) past the River Hawks (2-8), whose Jahad Thomas put up 20 points.

Providence 95, Brown 57 — Emmitt Holt scored 20 points, Rodney Bullock and Jalen Lindsey had 16 apiece and the Friars (7-2) proved too much for the Bears (5-5), who were led by Obi Okolie’s 16 points and shot just 3-for-17 on 3-pointers, to handle in the all-Providence matchup.

URI 51, Old Dominion 39 — In Kingston, R.I., E.C. Matthews scored 15 points, Brandan Stith had 14 points and 13 rebounds, Cyril Langevine had four blocks and Stanford Robinson a career-high five steals, leading the way for the Rams (6-3) in a victory against the Monarchs (5-3).

Navy 76, Bryant 74 — In Annapolis, Md., Tom Lacey had 16 points and 17 rebounds, and the Midshipmen (4-6) erased a 25-point halftime deficit and took their first lead with 38 seconds to play, then beat the Bulldogs (3-7), whose Adam Grant finished with 24 points.

UNH 80, American 70 — In Washington, Jalen Smith led a balanced attack with 20 points and the Wildcats (6-3), who had four other players finish in double digits in scoring and shot 12-for-17 from both beyond the arc and the free throw line, topped the Eagles (1-7).

Fr.?Pierce 86, Merrimack 79 — In North Andover, Donte Gittens scored 24 points, Mike McDevitt had 22 and the Ravens (5-4, 4-2 NE-10) beat the Warriors (6-3, 3-2), whose Juvaris Hayes and Ryan Boulter went for 28 and 26 points, respectively.

Saint Anselm 105, Assumption 62 — In Worcester, the Hawks (4-2, 4-2 NE-10) got 23 points from Harrison Taggert, and 18 points and 10 rebounds from Tim Guers, in a drubbing of the Greyhounds (2-6, 2-4).

LeMoyne 62, AIC 49 — In Springfield, C..J. Asuncion-Byrd had 13 points to lead a balanced attack, and the Dolphins (6-3, 3-2 NE-10) downed the Yellow Jackets (3-7, 0-5).

Amherst 76, Brandeis 58 — The Purple and White (6-0), the top-ranked team in Division 3, were paced by Jayde Dawson’s 20 points and 16 from Johnny McCarthy, who also had nine rebounds, in the victory against the visiting Judges (3-3), whose Jordan Cooper had 19 points.

UMass-Boston 76, Tufts 74 — In Medford, the last of Sam Freeman’s 26 points came on a jump shot with a second left, giving the Beacons (5-2) the win against the No. 3 Jumbos (6-2) that also included Dan Powers’ 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Endicott 78, U. of N.E. 65 — In Biddeford, Maine, the No.??20 Gulls (5-1, 3-0 CCC) blew past the Nor’easters behind 20 points from Max Motroni and the same total from Kamahl Walker.

In the AP top 25:

Villanova 89, LaSalle 79 — In Philadelphia, Jalen Brunson scored 26 points and Josh Hart had 21 to help the No. 1 Wildcats (9-0) hold off the Explorers (4-3).

Kansas 105, Mo.-Kansas City 62 — Frank Mason’ 30 points helped the No. 3 Jayhawks (8-1) rout the Kangaroos (6-4) for coach Bill Self’s 600th win.

Staff and wire services contributed to this report.