Celtics

Harvard falls to Oklahoma St. in NIT, 71-54

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Harvard falls to Oklahoma St. in NIT, 71-54

TILLWATER, Okla. (AP) After its fastest start of the season, Oklahoma State didn't need much of a second half to knock Harvard out of the NIT.

The third-seeded Cowboys scored a season-high 41 points in the first half on the way to a 71-54 victory Tuesday night behind 18 points and eight rebounds from forward Marshall Moses.

"Our guys were ready," Moses said. "Everybody was on the same page and wanted to win."

Reger Dowell went 6 for 7 from the field and scored 15 points and Matt Pilgrim added 12 as six Cowboys scored six or more points.

Oklahoma State (20-13) took a 14-point lead into halftime thanks to a 14-4 run midway through the first half.

"I was just excited the way they came out," said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, who thought his team was the most excited it's been all season. "I wasn't quite sure exactly how they were going to come out. I was watching them in pregame talk and I thought they were ready. How we started the game, I felt very good from that point. I felt we were ready to play."

Junior Keiton Page, who finished with eight points, hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to start the spurt and Roger Franklin capped it with a jump shot from the baseline. The Cowboys held Harvard (23-7) to one basket during the four-minute stretch.

Markel Brown had seven points, three rebounds and three assists for Oklahoma State.

"I was very impressed with their quickness and their speed," Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. "It certainly knocked us back on our heels early."

Kyle Casey led sixth-seeded Harvard with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Ivy League player of the year Keith Wright scored 10 points and hit double figures for the 15th straight game. Laurent Rivard added 10 off the bench for Harvard, which totaled its fewest points since scoring 52 in a loss to Connecticut on Dec. 22, 2010.

Oklahoma State outrebounded Harvard 17-9 in the first half and 31-23 for the game.

"Their guys up front, Pilgrim and Moses, they are strong, they are veterans and they are senior players," Amaker said. "They played like it."

The Crimson ranked second nationally in free throw percentage, but went 4 for 7 from the line. It was a season low in both attempts and makes.

Harvard made its first NIT appearance after winning at least a share of the Ivy League for the first time in school history. The Crimson lost to Princeton on a shot at the buzzer in a tiebreaker for the league's automatic NCAA tournament berth.

Oklahoma State, which won its 32nd consecutive non-conference home game, will play the winner between No. 2 Washington State and No. 7 Long Beach State winner. The higher seed will host.

"It's a little difficult for someone like me, who loves to prepare," Ford said. "Not only do we not know who we are playing, but we don't know when we are playing."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics drop back-to-back games

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics drop back-to-back games

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Kyrie Irving’s struggles, not having Gordon Hayward, and the Celtics losing for the 2nd time in as many nights.

6:31 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the message delivered by Hayward to the fans before the game, what was going on with Kyrie’s shot, and why they failed in stopping The Greek Freak.

10:33 - Albert Breer joins BST to preview the Falcons/Patriots Sunday night game and if Atlanta is in the middle of a Super Bowl hangover.

15:40 - In a new game called On The Clock, each person gets 40 seconds to rant on their selected subject including if Red Sox fans can root for the Yankees if the playoffs and how painful the Bruins season will be. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics 'don’t have time for square one' moving on without Hayward

Celtics 'don’t have time for square one' moving on without Hayward

BOSTON – When Kyrie Irving asked Cleveland to trade him this summer, he did so in part to be more of a navigator when it comes to charting out the rest of his basketball career.

But he knows for him to achieve the kind of individual and team success that he wants, he can’t do it alone.

And that maybe more than anything else, is why Irving has struggled in these first two games as far as shooting the ball.

In Boston’s first two games – both losses – Irving has averaged 19.5 points, 4.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds. Those are decent numbers but pale in comparison to what the 25-year-old has been able to do most of his NBA career.

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And while the team is committed to moving on and focus on winning the next game, there’s no getting around the emotional tug they all feel towards Hayward.

“You can throw as many emotions in there as you want, man,” Irving said. “We know how much G (Gordon Hayward) meant to this team and means to this team. Without him on the floor creating those opportunities we were going over in practice, and we saw in preseason and in the first game, that’s a big void to fill. When you think of it in that aspect, of course you want to be frustrated and disappointed. I’m pretty sure that’s not what G wants. So, for us, you just have to continue to exude confidence in the young guys and be ready to step up to the plate. It’s going to be even higher expectations on our guys in this locker room now to try and fill that hole that G (Hayward) left for us. As one of the leaders on this team, it’s my job to pick us up, as well as with Brad and the team with all the guys. We have to look each other in the eyes and know what to expect every single night.”

That’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you consider how quickly things changed for the Celtics at least in the short term with Hayward’s energy.

“I just … as you can see its’ not an ideal situation,” Irving said. “So, as cliché as it is, everybody is probably going to say that’s life. But it is, man. [expletive] happens. Excuse my language. But it does, man. The individual that we have in Gordon, he’s very special. He’s going to fight like hell to get back on the floor. I know he’s already … there’s a fire burning inside of him. You see the amount of support he got. That should tell you the type of person he is. Not only to the Boston Celtics but to the rest of the league. We want him to get back healthy but we all understand that his health comes first. He’s going to do everything possible to get back on the floor and it’s our job to lift him up.”

Irving was asked whether the team would need to go back to Square One due to Hayward’s injury which will keep him out indefinite at this point.

“No. We don’t have time for square one,” Irving said. “I can tell you that right now. We don’t have time to go back to square one. It’s time to just figure it out, moment to moment, and we’ll be alright. I’ve had the unique opportunity to be in some situations that test your character and this is one of those times.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE