The outcome used to be a foregone conclusion when Boston College hosted Harvard. A lopsided affair almost always ensued, much to the chagrin of the Crimson.
Not anymore. This stopped being a mismatch the moment Tommy Amaker took over the Harvard men’s program.
As BC coach Steve Donahue said after his Eagles absorbed a 79-63 smackdown from their Ivy League visitors Tuesday night at Conte Forum, “I think people in this area are confused. They think it’s the Harvard of your father’s Harvard — it’s not. They’re an established program and they could beat a lot of basketball teams in this country.’’
Donahue would not have gotten an argument from the sparse crowd of 3,128 who turned out to watch the Eagles lose to Harvard for the fifth year in a row at home. The Crimson’s recent streak in a series that BC still leads, 32-14, seemed to raise questions about whether the Eagles saw any value in continuing the series.
“I think it’s a game we should play,’’ said Donahue, whose young team clawed its way to within 31-29 at halftime only to get overwhelmed by a late 15-1 Harvard run.
“They’re a very good basketball team, a very good program and they’re going to be very good this year and they’re going to be very good next year,’’ Donahue said. “I think it’s the right thing for college basketball in the City of Boston. We got to get better no matter who we play.’’
Freshman Siyani Chambers led the Crimson (4-3) with a career-high 21 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field and 6 for 6 from the foul line.
“I was just taking what the defense gave me,’’ said Chambers.
Wesley Saunders chipped in 18 points and bruising sophomore forward Jonah Travis added 14 points, 10 coming in the second half.
Ryan Anderson scored 23 points and had a game-high seven rebounds to lead BC (3-5).
The Crimson opened the second half with an 11-4 run to increase their lead to 42-33. Laurent Rivard induced BC freshman Eddie Odio to commit a foul as Rivard hoisted a trey, sending the Harvard junior to the line for three foul shots he made.
Odio buried a trey to pull BC within 42-36, but Harvard put the game out of reach with the 15-1 run.
“We’ve been fortunate,’’ Amaker said. “But whether that’s the outcome is not indicative of us wanting to maintain this game. It’s about us having an opportunity to play an ACC team. We’ve been able to get excited about that.’’