Vanderbilt built an 18-point second-half lead and held on to withstand a late Harvard run, as the Commodores defeated the Crimson, 79-70, in the NCAA Tournament in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday afternoon.
The Crimson cut VU's lead to five with 1:51 to play, but Jeffery Taylor hit a free throw with 1:24 left to extend the lead to six. From there, John Jenkins hit all six of his free throws, and Brad Tinsley also hit a pair, as Vandy held on.
Jenkins scored 27 points, including 10-of-13 from the foul line. Tinsley added 16, and Taylor, 15.
For the game, VU shot 54.3 percent, and won the rebounding battle, 35-25.
Vandy led by double-digits for much of the second half, but HU's Laurent Rivard caught fire and almost single-handedly gave the Crimson a chance to make a run. Rivard scored 20 points, hitting 6-of-7 from 3-point range.
Vanderbilt led 33-23 at the break, shooting 52.4 percent from the field while holding Harvard to 37 percent. It also led 18-12 on the backboards.
Jenkins led both teams in scoring at the break with 11.
Vanderbilt snapped a three-game NCAA Tournament losing streak, and will play Wisconsin on Saturday.