Saint Joseph's enters the non-conference tilt with a 10-3 record, highlighted by wins over Creighton and Villanova. Harvard, on the other hand, enters at 11-1 with their only loss coming in a competitive game at UConn. On the quality win front, Harvard has wins against Florida State and Central Florida.
Harvard enters Saturday's contest ranked 24th in the Associated Press top 25 and 23rd in the ESPN/USA Today top 25. The Crimson average a shade under 67 points a game, compared to SJU at just over 74 points per contest.
Defensively, the Hawks enter the Harvard game giving up 65.5 points per game on 37% shooting. Harvard is stout on the defensive side of the ball, only giving up a shade over 53 points per game. So, while the Crimson don't score it quite like Saint Joseph's, they are also keeping their opposition to roughly 12 points fewer per game.
On the boards, Saint Joseph's has a slight edge, with a 37-33.8 rebounds per game advantage. The Hawks' frontcourt of Ron Roberts, C.J. Aiken, and Halil Kanacevic combine for 28.4 points and 17.6 rebounds per contest. For Harvard, senior Keith Wright and junior Kyle Casey are the main cogs in the frontcourt. Each are scoring 10.7 points per game, while Wright leads the Crimson in rebounding at 7.5 boards a game.
When comparing the two teams, a few statistics jump out at you. Harvard doesn't have a player averaging more than 11 points per game, while the Hawks have three. Carl Jones, Langston Galloway, and CJ Aiken each score more on a nightly basis than anyone on the Harvard roster.
Both the Crimson and the Hawks have, generally speaking, an 8-man rotation. However, news broke Friday afternoon via Aaron Bracy of PhilaHoops.com, that the Hawks could be without starting wing Daryus Quarles. He apparently suffered an ankle injury in practice Thursday that puts him at 50-50 for Saturday's contest.
A key in tomorrow's game will be the Hawks ability to defend the three-point line. Harvard sophomore guard Laurent Rivard is one of the more dangerous perimeter shooters in America. On the year, he is shooting 45% from three, and launches just under 6 attempts from deep per game. Saint Joseph's has struggled at times defending the perimeter, and Rivard is capable of burying shots from deep if given even a split-second of daylight. Freshman guard Corbin Miller is also a deadly shooter from deep, and has connected on 12-18 shots from beyond the arc this year.
Following Saturday's game at Harvard, the Hawks will begin their Atlantic 10 conference play with a trip to Duquesne. Due to their solid schedule, win against Creighton, and strong RPI, the Hawks will be entering conference play with a legitimate shot at an at-large bid this year. A win at Harvard on Saturday would certainly help that cause.
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