Patrick Harvey may be the smallest player on the Harvard men's basketball team, but he's no stranger to making the biggest shots. The 5'10" sophomore guard has been a regular hero for the Crimson this winter, winning not one but two games for Harvard in the final seconds of regulation. With 3.7 seconds left in the Crimson's Ivy opener against Dartmouth in December, there was Harvey -- stealing an inbounds pass and sinking two free throws, as Harvard stole a 79-78 win. And just last week, with no time left on the clock in the Crimson's final non-conference game of the winter, there was Harvey again -- sinking a 12-foot runner in the lane as Harvard downed Hartford, 80-78. Short in stature, maybe. Short on tricks, not at all. And that impresses at least one member of the Penn squad. "I think it takes poise and confidence in yourself in taking that final shot, because you have four other guys out there when you take that shot" Penn senior guard Lamar Plummer said. "Sometimes it's by chance that you're open and the shot comes to you. But I think it has a lot to do with poise and with confidence, and with being relaxed throughout the entire final moments of the game." Given the circuitous route that the Chicago, Ill., native has taken to his current level of stardom at Harvard, it may come as no surprise that he is poised and relaxed when it matters. After averaging 3.3 points per game during the 1998-99 season, Harvey sat out all of last year, and watched freshmen guard Elliot Prasse-Freeman work himself into the starting lineup. This fall, determined to make it back onto the court, Harvey rededicated himself to the game. As a result, he played his way into a starting job as the Crimson moved to a new three-guard offense. And the sophomore sparkplug hasn't looked back, scoring nine points in the season opener, and hitting for double-figures 13 times since then. Yet despite his scoring prowess and his frequent last-second heroics, Harvey remains a relative unknown outside of the Boston area. Even after watching film yesterday, it appeared that the Quakers hadn't realized the full threat that this shooter posed. "I'll probably end up guarding who's on fire," Plummer said. "And if we limit everybody, I'll probably end up guarding my man, the 5'10" kid." That "5'10" kid" might end up on fire, and might need someone in his face all evening -- as he has much of this season. Harvey averages a healthy 14.3 points per game, and is shooting 44 percent from three-point range -- the second-best rate in the Ivies. The sophomore is also a dead-eye from the free-throw line, leading the league by hitting 85.5 percent of his shots from the stripe. On top of this, Harvey is also a strong presence on defense, with 1.9 steals per evening. A hard-nosed ballplayer who often gives up several inches to his opposing counterpart, Harvey mirrors the scrappy nature of his Crimson squad. At times this winter, Harvey and his Crimson squad have looked quite impressive, ready to improve upon last season's third-place finish and challenge Penn and Princeton for Ivy supremacy. At other times, this Jekyll-and-Hyde squad looks like a program that has never won an Ivy title, suffering ignoble defeats to Georgia Tech and Navy by more than 30 points. But despite Harvard's disheartening 65-55 loss to Columbia last Saturday -- in which Harvey led the way with 14 points -- the Crimson can in no way be taken lightly. With Harvey watching from the sidelines a year ago, Harvard nearly toppled the Quakers, falling 62-61 when a Crimson shot bounced awry at the buzzer. A year later, and with a new shooter for opponents to be concerned with, there is a real possibility that Harvard could make tomorrow's clash an interesting one. To that end, ESPN.com's Andy Katz has even listed this game as a "one to watch" for this weekend. Although Harvey is admittedly just a secondary option in the Crimson offensive scheme behind All-Ivy selection Dan Clemente, he nonetheless has proved he has the capability to come up big when it counts. It was Clemente who missed the shot at the buzzer last winter that would have defeated Penn; tomorrow, the chance might just present itself for Harvey to do his mentor one better and obtain a trifecta of game-winning shots on the season. But if Plummer -- who limited Yale's Chris Leanza to 3-for-14 shooting last Friday -- has anything to say with it, his counterpart on the Crimson won't be left with that opportunity. "Coach usually puts me on their best scorer if he's a guard," Plummer said "And the guys that I have to guard, I basically try to limit them. "And hopefully I'll play great defense on him, and he won't have a chance to score and hurt our team." Not even six feet tall, Harvey might not have much room left to grow in terms of height. Likewise, with each new winning bucket that he hits, Harvey has even less room to grow in terms of on-court heroics. Until next time, that is.Comments powered by Disqus
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