Harvard coach Tommy Amaker knows a thing or two about winning titles and now he can add a second Carrs-Safeway Great Alaska Shootout to his coaching resume.
The three-time Ivy League defending champion Crimson became the first Ivy League team to win a Shootout and did so with sharp play from the outset of a 71-50 win Saturday over TCU, the final Shootout final at Sullivan Arena.
"We've had some moments lately and this is another one," Amaker said. "I'm very proud of the guys for this great accomplishment."
Harvard (7-1) reached the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons and garnered some fame last spring as a 14 seed that upset third-seeded New Mexico in the first round for the program's first tournament win.
Playing as a cohesive unit, Harvard was balanced and clinical Saturday. Junior guard Wesley Saunders stood out with his all-around game and junior forward Jonah Travis was a spark plug off the bench. Throw in the deft shooting touch of Laurent Rivard, who extended his program record for career 3-pointers made, and you have a winning formula any team would be envious of.
"Everybody is unselfish," Saunders said. "We were sharing the ball. Everybody was making the extra pass and looking to get everyone involved, so it was a great team win."
Saturday's meeting was the first between Harvard and TCU and the Crimson looked well prepared, starting on an 8-0 run and building leads of 21-6 and 33-10 en route to a 48-25 halftime lead.
The 23-point lead had the Crimson on pace to break the record for margin of victory in a Shootout title game, a 37-point mark set by Washington State in a 2009 win over San Diego.
TCU (4-3), which didn't hit a field goal until more than four minutes had elapsed in the first half, managed to cut into the lead briefly in the second half. The Horned Frogs pulled within 60-45 with less than eight minutes to play, but never truly threatened to come back.
Point guard Kyan Anderson led TCU with a game-high 20 points, as the Horned Frogs had to try to rally without their supremely talented sixth man in the second half. Amric Fields, a 6-foot-9 power forward who was instrumental in TCU reaching the title game, left late the first half and watched the second from the bench with a bandage on his left hand.
Rivard led Harvard with 15 points, making all five of his field goals from beyond the arc. He became Harvard's all-time leader in 3-pointers made Friday against Green Bay and extended the mark to 226 Saturday, besting the old record of 220 set by Dan Clements in 2001. Setting the record on his first visit to Alaska added to the achievement, Rivard said.
"It will be more memorable," he said. "It's not just one of the 100 games I played in at home. It was really cool to do it here."
Saunders finished with just four points, but made an impact all over the court. He racked nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals. Three of his steals came in the game's first seven minutes and were instrumental in Harvard's early domination.
Travis scored 11 points and hauled in seven rebounds in 16 minutes. Point guard Siyani Chambers and Evan Cummins each deposited 10 points.
The Ivy League squad is made up of players who must meet the same academic standards as any other student at Harvard, which in accordance with the rest of the Ivy League, eschews athletic scholarships in favor of need-based financial aid.
Harvard won its Shootout title without one of its key players. Senior guard Brandyn Curry, who is two-time second-team All-Ivy League and started all 30 games last season, is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
This wasn't Amaker's first trip to the Shootout. A four-year starter at point guard for Duke from 1983-87, he won a Shootout title as an assistant coach with the Blue Devils in 1995. He has also won two NCAA titles as an assistant with Duke, a National Invitational Tournament title as head coach at Michigan.
Throughout his coaching odyssey, which includes a stint with Seton Hall, the 48-year-old Amaker said the lessons he learned from coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke never leave him.
"If I could ever take something away from him, it's the ability to communicate," Amaker said. "He teaches, he leads and then he serves and I'm very hopeful that I can somehow do a very small part of that one day."
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
TCU (50) -- Parrish 0-0 0-0 0, Shepherd 1-8 3-3 5, Anderson 6-12 7-8 20, Gore 0-5 1-2 1, Ray 4-12 5-7 13, Hill 1-5 1-2 3, Williams 1-6 3-4 6, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Fields 1-5 0-0 2, Dincer 0-1 0-0 0, Montigel 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 14-56 20-26 50.
HARVARD (71) -- Moundou-Missi 3-6 2-2 8, Casey 3-8 0-0 6, Rivard 5-11 0-1 15, Chambers 2-7 4-4 10, Saunders 2-5 0-0 0, Nesbitt 0-0 0-0 0, Edosomwan 1-2 0-0 2, Myers 1-1 0-0 3, Fraschilla 0-0 0-0 0, Giger 0-0 0-0 0, Travis 5-8 1-1 11, Anastasi 0-0 0-0 0, Cummins 4-6 2-2 10, Okolie 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-55 9-10 71.
3-point goals -- TCU 2-10 (Anderson 1-2, Gore 0-2, Ray 0-2, Williams 1-1, Fields 0-1, Dincer 0-1, Montigel 0-1), Harvard 8-17 (Rivard 5-11, Chambers 2-5, Myers 1-1). Rebounds -- TCU 27 (Anderson 5, Ray 5), Harvard 44 (Saunders 8, Moundou-Missi 8). Total fouls -- TCU 17, Harvard 21. Fouled out -- Anderson. Assists -- TCU 8 (Gore 4), Harvard 23 (Saunders 9). Turnovers -- TCU 14 (Ray 3, Williams 3), Harvard 21 (Saunders 7). Blocks -- TCU 2, Harvard 7 (Cummins 6). Steals -- TCU 10 (Gore 3, Williams 3), Harvard 9 (Saunders 4). Officials -- Zakarian, Thomson, Corson.
At Sullivan Arena
Denver 78, UAA 71
Indiana St. 73, Pepperdine 70
Green Bay 67, Tulsa 59
Harvard 71, TCU 50