Harvard knows bigger challenges are ahead after sweeping Dartmouth

HANOVER, N.H. – Animated is not a word normally used to describe Tommy Amaker, but there he was Saturday night at Leede Arena exhorting his team on, almost screaming, at least as much as Amaker is capable of such a thing.

The timing seemed strange. Just past the midway point of the second half, his Bryce Aiken-less Harvard team had just started to put some distance between itself and a pesky Dartmouth team that pushed the Crimson fairly hard the week before at Lavietes Pavilion and was only a four-point underdog (sports gambling recently became legal in the state of New Hampshire, for those who care). Harvard wasn’t playing its best game, but it weren’t playing poorly, either.

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Déjà vu for Harvard men at Dartmouth in Crimson win to sweep Big Green

One week later, and not much has changed.

Harvard once again came close to blowing a double-digit lead in the final minutes but again managed to hold on for just long enough to come away from Hanover its eighth straight win, 70-66, and a sweep of Dartmouth.

Read moreDéjà vu for Harvard men at Dartmouth in Crimson win to sweep Big Green

Harvard men hold on versus Dartmouth, 67-62, without Bryce Aiken

With Bryce Aiken watching from the sideline in a walking boot, Harvard withstood a late push from Dartmouth to take its Ivy opener, 67-62, at home.

The first half belonged to senior center Chris Lewis, who had 11 points and was perfect from the floor, while his freshman frontcourt partner Chris Ledlum led the Crimson (12-4, 1-0 Ivy) in the second half with 11 of his own. It was a game of highs and lows for Tommy Amaker’s squad, who withstood Dartmouth’s hot start and good shooting from behind the arc (41%) in the first half, but almost squandered a 12-point lead in the final minutes.

Read moreHarvard men hold on versus Dartmouth, 67-62, without Bryce Aiken

Harvard men’s basketball releases 2019-20 schedule

The Harvard men announced a challenging 2019-2020 schedule, on Tuesday afternoon, which the Crimson faithful hope will prepare the team not only for its third straight regular season title, but its first Ivy Tournament championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015.

The 15 game nonconference schedule features the usual contests against in-state rivals, as well as trips to Toronto, Florida, D.C. and California.  The early part of the schedule will see the Crimson facing anywhere from four-to-five top-100 teams.

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Morgan moves to second all-time in Ivy scoring history as Cornell comes back to stun Harvard

Saturday’s contest between Harvard and Cornell was the exact opposite of Friday’s games for both teams, in the sense that offense would come at a premium.

After the Crimson dropped 98 points Friday in triple overtime, they were held to just 61 points on Saturday as Cornell stormed back to erase a 15-point second-half deficit to win the game, 67-61. Despite struggling to get shots all game, Matt Morgan had 15 points, good enough to move into second-place in conference history in career points (2,162), a night after meeting Jim Barton, the man he just surpassed.

 

Cornell moved up to 12-10 (4-2 Ivy) and Harvard dropped to 11-8 (4-2). Cornell has already met last season’s win total, with eight games remaining on the schedule.

Read moreMorgan moves to second all-time in Ivy scoring history as Cornell comes back to stun Harvard

Harvard avoids sweep with 64-59 win over Dartmouth

After making an impressive runner at the buzzer, Christian Juzang jogged into the Lavietes Pavilion locker room. Despite the acrobatic bucket to end the first period, Harvard still trailed, 26-25.

At press time, coach Tommy Amaker commented on what he told his team at the half. He reminded them of the magnitude of the game, later suggesting that the next 20 minutes had the potential to “define our season.”

Read moreHarvard avoids sweep with 64-59 win over Dartmouth

Harvard’s Bryce Aiken returns to the court for the first time this season

Minutes before game time at Howard University on Monday afternoon, Harvard Basketball tweeted out the day’s second most important announcement from the D.C. campus – for the first time in 348 days, junior guard Bryce Aiken would be on the court for the Crimson.

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Dartmouth engineers commanding win over Harvard

Last year, there was the Legend of Flannel Night! This year, we can add the new Legend of Wings Night!!

The Harvard men arrived for their league-opening match with Dartmouth as a five-point favorite, according to KenPom. They also had former first team All-Ivy guard Bryce Aiken in uniform for the first time this season. Neither of those things mattered, in the end (and Aiken didn’t play anyway), as the Big Green used a sizzling 68 percent shooting performance to beat the Crimson, 81-63, for their first Ivy opening victory in 12 years.

Read moreDartmouth engineers commanding win over Harvard

Absent Chris Lewis, Harvard stuns Saint Mary’s with impressive road win

Harvard took the floor on Saturday night with an immediate disadvantage: already 8.5-point underdogs on the road against the Gaels, the Crimson had arguably their three best players donning street clothes. On the far right side of their bench sat Bryce Aiken, Seth Towns, and, to the surprise of many, Chris Lewis, Harvard’s leading scorer.

After earning Ivy Rookie of the Year honors in his freshman campaign, Aiken battled knee ailments all of last year and missed an extended amount of time. When he did play, it was clear that he wasn’t at full strength. The former top-100 recruit underwent surgery this past offseason, and was expected to be healthy by the start of this year. However, Aiken has yet to see action in the 2018-19 season.

It’s been an eerily similar journey for Towns, whose breakout sophomore season earned him the 2017-18 Ivy League Men’s Player of the Year award. The lanky sharpshooter scored just under 23 points per 40 minutes last year, shooting more than 44 percent from deep. His impact on Harvard’s offense was especially noticeable late in the shot clock; when the Crimson had no open looks and the clock was nearing zero, Towns would often create shots on his own via isolation play.

Read moreAbsent Chris Lewis, Harvard stuns Saint Mary’s with impressive road win

Harvard staves off UMass rally in win before trip to Rhode Island

After leading for most of the game, the Harvard Crimson were able to fight off a rally by the UMass Minutemen in Amherst Tuesday, winning by a score of 74-71. Harvard improved to 2-1, while UMass suffered its first loss and fell to 2-1. It was the first win for the Crimson at UMass of the Tommy Amaker era for Harvard.

Chris Lewis would lead the Crimson with 16 points off a strong 8-for-11 from the field. He would also have three blocks on the defensive end but miss some time in the game as he slowly crept his way into foul trouble, finishing with four fouls. Justin Bassey also found himself in foul trouble, picking up three fouls in the game’s first eight and a half minutes. Bassey posted seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Danilo Djuricic contributed 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting, with 10 of those points in the first half.

Read moreHarvard staves off UMass rally in win before trip to Rhode Island