• Harvard’s Bryce Aiken scored 20 points in the second half, becoming the 13th player in tournament history to record at least 20 points in a single half.
• Harvard scored 20 points in the first half, just eclipsing the all-time tournament low of 17, then in the second half scored 51, narrowly missing the tournament record of 54.
Saint Mary’s (5-0)
• Playing in its fifth ESPN event (6-7 record in those).
• Won last 64 games when shooting at least 50% FG (last loss was 12/23/13 at Hawai’i).
• Dating back to 12/30/13, Saint Mary’s is 83-1 in its last 84 games when shooting better than the opponent (only loss was 3/18/17 versus Arizona)
• Saint Mary’s is one of two teams in this tournament to have the same starting lineup in every game this season (along with Georgia)… last year Saint Mary’s used the same starters in all 34 games.
• Jock Landale scored 26 points to lead all scorers, tying for the second most in his career (career high is 33 vs. Nevada on 11/11/16)… Londale also grabbed seven rebounds (Saint Mary is now 34-3 all-time when Londale gets at least seven rebounds).
• Both Emmett Naar and Jordan Ford set career highs with nine rebounds each.
• All five Saint Mary’s wins this season have been by at least 17 points.
• Playing in its second ESPN event (1-3 record in those).
• Harvard’s first four games of the year were decided by a combined total of 20 points… the 18-point loss is the team’s worst since a 19-point loss at Princeton on 2/5/16.
Saint Mary’s Head Coach Randy Bennett:
(On team’s Performance) – “I thought we played probably our best half of the year in the first half. We played about our worst five minutes to start the second half. Credit them (Harvard), they could have laid down easy but they didn’t. They came back in the second half and pressured us and caused us to turnover the ball which we don’t usually do.
“It was kind of a story of two halves. We righted ourselves as the game went on and were able to hold them off. We were happy to win against a very good team, played really well in the first half which gave us a chance to separate enough that we were able to hold them off.”
(On Jock Landale) – “Jock usually plays well, he really played well today, finished and made some key buckets when we needed them. I thought he did a pretty good job defensively too”
“…We’re always going to play that way, if we’re not, we’re not playing very smart if we’re not trying to play through Jock in the post. Usually we have a mismatch there in most games.”
Saint Mary’s senior point guard Emmett Naar:
(On the team’s performance) – “I felt pretty good, as coach said we came out really strong in the first half and we were just sort of clicking as a team, everyone contributing so that always helps a lot. Jock (Landale) was a bit of a beast inside there tonight which just clears everything up for us. I was just trying to read the play a bit, first game of the tournament everyone is a bit excited.”
“I think the team did a good job except for that stretch in the second half as coach mentioned.”
(On not taking a shot until second half) – “To be honest it just sort of happened. Some games teams play me as a passer and that will open my game up a bit more. Sometimes teams play me for scoring and that will open up the other ways. I try not to force to many shots, sometimes I could be a bit more aggressive that way but I just try to find the best shot for the team, if it’s not me it’s someone else so I have no problem just trying to get the best shot.”
Harvard Head Coach Tommy Amaker:
(On the team’s performance) – “We got knocked on our heels right by their team, two opening three’s and they’re so efficient at making there open shots. We made a point of emphasis to play through Chris (Lewis) and we thought that was big plus for us to post the ball to him and then play through that. By the time we really honed in on that we were looking at a deficit that was pretty hard to climb out of.”
(On forcing Saint Mary’s turnovers in the second half) – “I thought we competed a lot harder, plain and simple. Obviously they’re outstanding and will be one of the better teams we see throughout this whole season… I thought we just decided to really start competing for four minutes at a time and that started in the second half and allowed us to feel better about ourselves.”
(On Jock Landale) – “He’s one of the better post players in the country. He’s very savvy, he’s very crafty in terms of his ability to find cutters, using shot fakes, he’s got the total package for a low-post guy.”
(On Bryce Aiken scoring 20 points in the second half) – “I really thought that he allowed the game to come to him instead of forcing a little bit in the first half. Starting off in the second half we really wanted to play through Chris (Lewis) and I think that opened that court up for us all.”
Harvard center Chris Lewis:
(On his performance) – “I think what it really was is just the trust that my coaches and teammates had in me. They said that they were going to feed me the ball inside and that gave me confidence to be able to do what I did, be able to work inside, pass the ball out, try to make a play for my team… The trust we had in each other is what helped us fight back.”