We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Harvard is next because Crimson uber-donor Steve Ballmer can stick his entire hand in his mouth.
The Sweet Sixteen was the hallowed ground Harvard had never reached since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. The only thing standing in their way in the 2014 NCAA Tournament was the seventh ranked Michigan State Spartans. Harvard held its own for much of the first half but trailed by 12 at the break. The start of the second half was no better, and Harvard trailed by 16 with 15:48 remaining. Then-senior captain Brandyn Curry nailed two threes to start a comeback for the ages.
After a memorable run led by Steve Moundou-Missi and Curry, the Crimson pulled to within two points. Then, sophomore stud Wesley Saunders grabbed a steal in the Spartan backcourt and capped it off with a dunk to tie the game. Spartans coach Tom Izzo, shocked and unsettled, called a timeout. Nine minutes stood between Harvard and a Sweet Sixteen berth.
A few minutes later, a Curry steal led to a Siyani Chambers pass to Laurent Rivard in the corner, and swish. Suddenly, Harvard led a Final Four caliber team with only seven minutes to go after an amazing 28-6 run. For a magical 19 seconds, Harvard led Michigan State late in the second half. However, the magic faded down the stretch, and the Crimson went on to lose by seven after some clutch Michigan State free throws sealed the win for the Spartans.