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Last men’s basketball live blog of 2009: Harvard 66, GW 53, final

9:03 p.m. There wasn’t fouling after all. The last minute plays out uninterrupted and the teams and coaches start shaking hands about 10 seconds before the buzzer sounds. Harvard takes it 66-53. Check back later for a full post-game write-up.

9:01 p.m. The fouling has begun. King taps Lin’s back shortly after he catches the inbound pass at the 1:10 mark. Lin misses the first but hits the second and Harvard leads 66-53.

8:56 p.m. Taylor knocks down a three and it’s 63-50 Harvard with 2:05 on the clock. After the basket, Hobbs calls his final timeout.

8:51 p.m. Kromah misses a three-pointer. He hasn’t hit one since the Dec. 12 win over Towson, missing three apiece at Holy Cross and East Carolina and four so far tonight. Harvard leads 60-47 with 3:46 left.

8:48 p.m. Magnarelli gets left open under the basket and Lin finds him with a bounce-pass, giving Harvard a 58-47 lead and prompting Hobbs to call timeout.

8:47 p.m. Hollis scores on a traditional three-point play to cut Harvard’s lead to nine with a little over five minutes to play.

8:46 p.m. Ware hits a pair of free throws to make it a 10-point game, but Lin scores on the other end to push Harvard’s lead back to a dozen.

8:43 p.m. King hits a long jumper and it’s 54-42 Harvard with 6:27 left. It may be obvious at this point, but this game is not being played at the pace GW operates best at.

8:40 p.m. King’s defense helps create a turnover to send us into a media timeout with Harvard leading 54-40 at the 7:36 mark. Hobbs was getting pretty animated and making his way onto the court during GW’s last offensive possession, prompting Director of Basketball Operations Tyrone Lockhart to pull him back to the bench area. During the timeout, two of the officials were speaking with Lockhart and Ellerbe and one has now pulled aside assistant coach Roland Houston to talk as well.

8:36 p.m. I didn’t catch what happened, but after Harvard grabs a defensive rebound and pushes it the other way, the officials call timeout because Magnarelli is down on the ground holding the area around the back of his head and neck. He got up and left the court on his own power.

8:34 p.m. Hollis scores in the paint to give GW its second bucket of the second half and cut Harvard’s lead to 50-39. He then grabs a defensive rebound and helps feed it upcourt in transition to Edwards, who is fouled while attempting a dunk. Edwards makes one of two shots and it’s a 10-point game.

8:33 p.m. Hollis is whistled for goaltending and it’s 50-37 GW with 10:41 left in the half.

8:31 p.m. During a timeout, a boy of about 11 years of age or so in a Ray Allen jersey hits a layup, free throw, and three-pointer in succession to win a T-shirt. Nice shooting display there.

8:29 p.m. Curry hits a three from the corner to give Harvard a 48-37 lead and Katuka is whistled for his fourth personal foul going for a rebound on the defensive end. GW has scored just two points in nearly eight minutes of second-half play.

8:25 p.m. Hollis hits a long jumper from the corner then draws a charge on the other end, getting up a bit slowly and holding his knee. He comes out of the game after Kromah is called for a travel on the other end. It’s 43-37 Harvard with minutes to go.

8:21 p.m. Ware bumps into his defender while driving and is called for a charge, sending the game into a media timeout. GW has been called for 17 fouls; Harvard has 11.

8:19 p.m. Opoku is all alone grabbing a long defensive rebound, but the ball slips out of his hands, off his leg, and out of bounds. It’s still 41-35 Harvard at the 16:30 mark.

8:18 p.m. Hobbs calls a timeout with 17:13 left in the game and GW trailing 41-35. The Colonials have yet to score in the second half and Hollis is coming back in the game in place of Opoku.

8:16 p.m. Opoku then picks up his third personal foul while defending a pass, giving GW three players with three fouls.

8:16 p.m. Lots of chatter in the building after the shot clock expires as Opoku blocks a shot that might have been on its way down. The call is a shot-clock violation.

8:13 p.m. Webster heads to the line for Harvard and makes one of two shots to open the scoring in the second half. On the other end, Katuka picks up his third personal foul going for a defensive rebound. Opoku takes his place and Pellom comes in for Hollis.

8:12 p.m. Hollis and his three personal fouls are on the court to start the second half.

8:00 p.m. GW trails by three at halftime here at Harvard, though the momentum seems to be firmly in the Crimson’s favor at the break. Not only did the hosts break through for their first lead of the game in the last few minutes (and second, and third, etc. as the teams traded points), but Lin, their star player, seems to have awoken after having his nose bloodied in the first half’s final few minutes. He has 11 points on the break, with seven of them coming after the nosebleed. Webster, Wright, and Casey have combined for 20 of Harvard’s 27 non-Lin points, picking up some of the early scoring slack before Lin got going.

For GW’s part, Hollis having three fouls already certainly seems to hurt their cause going forward. He’s struggled to score, making just one of five field-goal attempts, but his presence and contributions are almost always a key for the Colonials in victory. Taylor’s seven points lead the team, with Opoku adding six and King adding five. Kromah, the team’s second leading scorer, has been cold the last two games and hasn’t made too much of an offensive impact in this game either thus far. Opoku, Smith, Pellom, and Katuka each have two personal fouls.

The game has been tightly contested through one half, but with Lin heating up and Hollis in foul trouble, the Crimson seem to have the upper hand entering the second half. Any number of things happening – such as Hollis staying foul-free and getting going on offense or Kromah finding his shot, to name two of the most obvious – could easily change that, as there’s a lot of basketball left before anything will be decided. We’ll be back for more updates after the break is over and the second half has begun.

7:56 p.m. King ties it with a three, then Lin hits his own to give Harvard a 38-35 lead as the first half ends.

7:55 p.m. Lin gets a steal at the perimeter and breaks away for a dunk to make it 35-32 Harvard.

7:54 p.m. The timeout allows Lin’s bleeding to be stopped so he can shoot the free throws. He makes both to give his team a 33-32 lead.

7:52 p.m. Curry banks a shot and then GW turns it over, with Smith fouling Lin under the basket to send him to the line and bloodying Lin’s nose in the process, forcing him out of the game per an official’s instructions. Harvard has called a timeout trailing 32-31 with 1:12 left in the half.

7:51 p.m. Ware makes a couple of free throws and it’s 32-29 GW.

7:49 p.m. Taylor gets sent to the line and makes both shots, giving GW the lead back. It’s 30-29 Colonials with 2:11 to go in the half.

7:47 p.m. Pellom guards Webster tight on the perimeter and gets called for his second foul. Webster makes both shots to make it a 29-28 Harvard lead and Smith replaces Pellom.

7:46 p.m. Taylor drives to his right and banks in a shot while being fouled, rattling in the ensuing free throw to give GW a 28-27 lead with 2:58 left in the half.

7:45 p.m. On the next possession, Hollis picks up his third personal as he tries in vain to block Magnarelli’s shot. Magnarelli misses both shots and Pellom comes on in place of Hollis.

7:44 p.m. Hollis picks up his second personal foul going after a loose ball, sending Casey to the line. He makes both, giving Harvard a 27-25 lead, its first of the game.

7:43 p.m. Lin makes both shots and the game is tied at 25.

7:41 p.m. Opoku is charged with an intentional foul for grabbing Lin’s jersey after losing the ball, his second personal foul of the game. Lin will go to the line after a media timeout with 3:57 on the clock and GW leading 25-23. The Colonials have 10 team fouls, so Harvard will be getting two free throws the rest of the half.

7:39 p.m. Taylor and Pellom lock up Harvard’s McNally in the backcourt, resulting in a travel, then Taylor buries a mid-range jumper following a pump-fake to make it 25-21.

7:37 p.m. Taylor finds Pellom on the wing in transition, who lays it in to regain the lead for GW. The Colonials are up 23-21 at the 4:44 mark and Harvard has called a timeout to talk things over. Katuka picked up his second personal foul a few possessions back.

7:36 p.m. Kyle Casey ties it on his first free throw then misses the second, but Lin is able to grab the offensive rebound. Edwards blocks Lin’s three-point shot on the possession though.

7:35 p.m. The ball finds Lin’s hands on the perimeter and then the bottom of the net for a three, making GW’s lead 21-20 at the six-minute mark. It was Lin’s third shot of the game. He has five points.

7:33 p.m. After the teams trade pairs of points – GW’s on two Opoku free throws and Harvard’s on a shot in the paint by Wright – Hobbs doesn’t like what he sees as King stops and starts setting up the half-court offense and calls a timeout. GW leads 21-17 with 6:40 left in the half.

7:29 p.m. GW takes a 19-15 lead on a one-handed alley-oop from King to Opoku – former high school teammates – with about eight minutes left in the half. The play capped a nice minute of action for King. A few possessions earlier, freshman Dwayne Smith’s pass to king fell short and into the hands of Lin, but King poked it away a few steps later and then dished it to Smith in the corner, though he missed the shot. The fourth-year junior has played well off the bench so far.

7:26 p.m. Lin drives and takes just his second shot of the game and misses it, though Magnarelli gets the put-back. GW leads 17-15.

7:25 p.m. A three by Harvard’s Christian Webster makes it a 15-13 GW lead with about 10:30 left in the half, then Kromah banks in an acrobatic basket to make it 17-13 on the other end.

7:22 p.m. Ware makes both shots and it’s 15-10 Colonials.

7:20 p.m. Ware is fouled while driving, sending the game into its second media timeout with the score still 13-10 at the 11:50 mark. Pellom missed a pair of free throws on GW’s last possession. The stands are nearly full now, with a good portion of those in attendance seeming to be GW supporters. It’ll be interesting to see the official attendance numbers, but I would imagine this is the Lavietes Pavilion’s largest crowd of the year thus far.

7:17 p.m. Magnarelli scores on a layup while being fouled by Kromah and adds a free throw to make it 13-10 GW with a little under 13 minutes to go before halftime.

7:16 p.m. Freshman David Pellom and redshirt sophomore Jabari Edwards enter the game together and Pellom immediately finds Edwards for an alley-oop dunk. Edwards then got a block on the defensive end.

7:15 p.m. Harvard has a strong minute of play, with Wright following up his first basket with a second and Lin stealing the ball to create an opportunity for Brandyn Curry, who was fouled on his shot by Hollis. Curry made one of two shots and it’s 11-7 GW.

7:13 p.m. Hollis buries a long jumper out of the timeout, then Wright responds on the other end. It’s 11-4 GW with 15 minutes left in the half.

7:11 p.m. We’ve got our first real break in the action after Lin poked the ball away from freshman Bryan Bynes, sending it out of bounds. GW still leads 9-2 with 15:41 left in the first half. The Colonials have come out with another strong start – they began the narrow Holy Cross win up 22-6 – and seem very energetic and aggressive on defense. Lin’s jumper, Harvard’s only basket, has been the standout guard’s only shot so far. GW will need to continue to limit his scoring opportunities, having appeared to have done a good job of doing so in the opening minutes.

7:09 p.m. Redshirt junior Travis King enters the game and immediately contributes, knocking down a long jumper on a pass from Hollis and finding freshman Dwayne Smith in transition under the basket. Lin fouled Smith on the shot and Smith made the first but missed the second. Opoku grabbed the rebound and dunked it home. It’s 9-2 GW at the 16:07 mark.

7:07 p.m. A mid-range jumper from Lin gets Harvard on the board. It’s 4-2 GW near the 17-minute mark.

7:06 p.m. After Kromah forces a turnover on the next play, Hollis comes back in and replaces Pellom. That was interesting.

7:05 p.m. Another possession, another Katuka bucket, this one banked in from a bit further out. GW takes a 4-0 lead, Katuka picks up a foul, and freshman David Pellom replaces Hollis less than 90 seconds into the game.

7:04 p.m. Katuka posts up on the first possession and lays it in to give GW a 2-0 lead.

Good evening everyone and welcome to the live blog for tonight’s men’s basketball game at Harvard, GW’s last contest of the 2009 calendar year. The Crimson are (is?) 8-3 and led by senior guard Jeremy Lin, who has been making quite a name for himself this season with a number of impressive performances and averages of 18.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Harvard has played a fairly challenging schedule so far, beating Boston College Dec. 9, losing by just six points at No. 13/14 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) Connecticut a few days before and losing at No. 14/13 Georgetown a week ago. Their other loss was at Army and they have beaten both Holy Cross and Boston University on the road, just as GW has.

Harvard’s other top players include 6-foot-8 forward Keith Wright, who averages 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds, and 6-foot-7 senior  forward Pat Magnarelli, who averages 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game off the bench. The Crimson is (are?) coached by Tommy Amaker, who replaced GW assistant coach Brian Ellerbe as head coach at Michigan earlier this decade.

The Colonials are 9-2 entering tonight’s game and riding a three-game win streak, with all of those victories coming on the road. None of them have been easy, however, as all three games – against Towson, East Carolina in overtime, and Holy Cross on Monday – have come down to the final few possessions. Freshman Tim Johnson will be inactive for the second straight game tonight as he nurses a sprained ankle.

Tonight’s GW starters will be sophomore Tony Taylor and freshman Lasan Kromah at guard, sophomore Aaron Ware and senior Damian Hollis at forward, and junior Joseph Katuka at center. This has been the Colonials’ most frequent starting lineup this season, though senior Hermann Opoku started in place of Katuka in the team’s win at Holy Cross. Both usually see plenty of playing time either way.

There appear to be two separate and sizable sections of GW fans here already, so the Colonials should have plenty of support in the small but nice Lavietes Pavilion, which seats a little over 2,000 people. Harvard has drawn more than 1,000 just once this season, when 1,297 people turned out to see them beat William & Mary in their home opener.

We’ve got less than eight minutes until the opening tip, so we’ll be back with updates as soon as the game begins.

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