It was an ending that even the great Steven Spielberg could not have scripted.
Harvard traveled to John J. Lee Amphitheater Friday night in desperate need of a win after losing to Penn and Princeton on the road last weekend. The Ivy schedule makers dealt the Crimson a very tough early-season hand.
Harvard eked out a dramatic 78-77 win after Azar Swain hit a clutch three with one second left, was fouled by Rio Haskett and after a seemingly endless wait on the free throw line due to an official review of the time remaining, missed the free throw.
Swain was brilliant in the second half ,scoring 27 of his game-high 33 points in that stanza. He almost single-handedly brought Yale back from a 13-point deficit in the last five minutes of the game resulting from a 9-0 run in a game played before a boisterous and student-laden sellout crowd of 2,706.
Harvard led 45-32 at the half, fueled by 19-for-33 (57.6%) shooting from the field, including 6-for-11 (54.5%) from three en route to an 8-for-19 (42.1%) showing from long range on the night. Yale finished the game just 7-for-22 (31.8%) from deep.
Noah Kirkwood had 18 points and Danilo Djuricic posted a pivotal 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting.
Paul Atkinson had a career-high 28 points on an efficient 11-for-16 from the field predicated upon fleet footwork which consistently befuddled numerous Harvard defenders.
Jordan Bruner was held to three points.
Harvard outrebounded Yale, 35-30, a feat almost never accomplished at JLA. The Elis trailed 71-59 with 5:42 to play but clawed back with 11 points from Swain the rest of the way, including three triples in the final 2:25. Yale had just dug too deep a hole.
“We need to get contributions from everyone,” Yale coach James Jones said.
“It was hard-fought,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “We were fortunate to win.”
Yale now sits at 16-5 and 4-1 in the Ivy and Harvard at 14-6 and 3-2.