Harvard did not look like a No. 14 seed against the heavily favored Lobos. The Crimson depended on fundamental play and good shooting to overcome New Mexico’s superior size and physicality.
Harvard started the game on a 7-2 run, and though New Mexico tied the game up twice in the first half, Harvard did not relinquish the lead until 18:46 to go in the second half.
Harvard quickly retook the lead but then suffered an almost eight minute field goal drought that included eight made free throws. With 6:42 to go Wesly Saunders made a layup for Harvard to tie up the game at 51-51 and was fouled in the process. He knocked down the free throw to put Harvard up by one, but Alex Kirk answered for New Mexico with a layup for the Lobos.
On the next possession Crimson's Laurent Rivard hit a 3-pointer, which sparked an 11-2 run that put Harvard on top for good.
Saunders led the Crimson with 18 points on 5-8 from the floor. Rivard had 17 points on 5-9 from 3-point range. Kenyatta Smith added 10 points and seven rebounds while Christian Webster contributed 11 points. Harvard shot 52.4 percent from the floor and was 8 of 18 from behind the arc.
Alex Kirk led the Lobos with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Cameron Bairstow added 15 points and nine boards. Harvard held New Mexico to 37.5 percent from the floor and 3 of 14 from behind the arc.
The win is Harvard’s first NCAA tournament win in school history.
Harvard will face No. 6 seed Arizona on Saturday. The time is still to be determined. Arizona knocked off No. 11 seed Belmont Thursday, 81-64.
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