Harvard men struggle at home in loss to Brown as Bears stay in Ivy League Tournament contention

After a six-game winning streak gave Harvard a fighting chance to seize the top seed in the Ivy League Tournament from arch-rival Yale, the Crimson men fell to Brown, 64-55, at home Friday night and locked themselves into a matchup with Princeton. The Bears, who are wrapping up an impressive season but failed to vault into the top tier of the league, completed a season sweep of Harvard on the strength of 20 points from Zach Hunsaker and a solid defensive effort. On Senior Night, Harvard was as usual led by Chris Lewis, who had 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting, but sorely missed the steady hand of injured guard Christian Juzang. The usually reliable Noah Kirkwood struggled from the floor, shooting only 4-for-13 with no assists, and freshman guard Idan Tretout was not able to pick up the backcourt slack after having been thrust into action.

Chris Lewis of Harvard is defended by Brown’s Zach Hunsaker and Jaylan Gainey during the Bears’ 64-55 win over the Crimson at Lavietes Pavilion Friday night. Brown held Harvard to 0.81 points per possession, and Harvard’s offense often looked discombobulated, committing 15 turnovers. | Photo by Erica Denhoff

Read moreHarvard men struggle at home in loss to Brown as Bears stay in Ivy League Tournament contention

Harvard men take sole possession of second place with win over Cornell

ITHACA, N.Y. – Despite the absence of Christian Juzang due to injury, Harvard pulled out a 67-58 win over Cornell, putting the Crimson in sole possession of second place in the Ivy standings.

“They’re an impressive group,” Cornell coach Brian Earl said. “I won’t miss some of their seniors on their team. They’re grown men.”

The first half was super streaky, although relatively close. Harvard (20-7, 9-3 Ivy) opened up on a 6-0 run, followed by an 8-0 run from Bryan Knapp for the Big Red (6-19, 3-9).

“My teammates [are] looking for me,” Knapp said. “I had five, then Terrance [McBride] was like, ‘I’m getting you the ball,’ and he drove, kicked it to me.”

Read moreHarvard men take sole possession of second place with win over Cornell

Harvard men win at Columbia but lose Christian Juzang

The Crimson kept pace with Yale and Princeton by winning against a pesky Columbia team in Manhattan Friday night. When stalwart point guard Christian Juzang went down with a serious-looking ankle injury, Rio Haskett rose to the occasion as the next man up and personally put Columbia away with a late-game scoring flurry. Mike Smith once again performed heroically, with 34 points against a stout Harvard defense, but the rest of his teammates failed to hold up their end of the bargain. Haskett was one of four Harvard players who scored in double figures, including a double-double from Justin Bassey and a 6-for-6 free throw performance from Chris Lewis. Harvard came very close to sharing the Ivy league lead with arch-rival Yale, but Penn’s late-game meltdown kept Harvard firmly in second place with Princeton.

Read moreHarvard men win at Columbia but lose Christian Juzang

Cardiac Crimson suffer last-second loss at Brown

Live by the opponent’s last-second free throw, die by the opponent’s last-second free throw.

Harvard concluded a wild four-game road stretch with a 72-71 loss when Brown’s Tamenang Choh finished an “and-one” in the waning seconds, a night after Yale’s Azar Swain failed to convert a similar opportunity. On the back of Choh’s heroics and a dominant performance from Brandon Anderson, the Bears (11-8, 4-2 Ivy) picked up a crucial home win against the rival Crimson (14-7, 3-3) and proved that they can play with the best of the Ivy. The Crimson go home disappointed after four straight tight contests with surviving optimism about their ceiling but with urgent questions about their ability to finish games. The thrilling conclusion lent some excitement to a game that was otherwise difficult to watch, thanks to overzealous refereeing and occasional difficulties with clock management.

Tamenang Choh and Zach Hunsaker walk off the Pizzitola Sports Center court victorious after Choh completed a three-point play at the foul line with 0.5 seconds remaining. | Photo by Erica Denhoff

Read moreCardiac Crimson suffer last-second loss at Brown

Yale comeback falls just short versus Harvard

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.

Harvard’s Rio Haskett after being called for what could have been a game-changing foul on Azar Swain as Swain hit a three with Yale trailing 78-74 with 0.9 seconds left at Yale Friday. But Azar Swain couldn’t complete the four-point play after a four-minute-long official review resulted in the addition of 2.1 seconds to the game clock, and the Crimson left New Haven with a victory by the slimmest of margins. | Photo by Erica Denhoff
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.
Harvard standout big man Chris Lewis (0) s scored just four points Friday at Yale, but Robert Baker scored 10 points and was one of five different Crimson players to hit at least one three-pointer in Harvard’s 78-77 win. Harvard shot 42.1% from outside, besting Yale’s clip of 31.8%. | Photo by Erica Denhoff
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.
Noah Kirkwood celebrates after Harvard completed a 78-77 victory at Yale Friday. Kirkwood notched a team-high 18 points for the Crimson. | Photo by Erica Denhoff

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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Harvard rolls over Cornell, 74-55, into Ivy title game

The Crimson entered the Ivy League Tournament semifinals as favorites over the fourth-seeded Big Red. This made sense. While Harvard arrived on a roll, Cornell needed a Yale overtime win against Princeton to even earn a trip to the Palestra. But after two hard-fought games in the regular season between these two teams and memories from last year’s tough Ivy Tournament semifinal lingering in Harvard’s mind, the game was far from a sure thing for either side.

Early on, both sides were jumpy and cold from the floor, especially Harvard. After the game, Tommy Amaker attributed this to nerves, but added that after a few shots went in, all that nervousness went away. He also noted the importance of Rio Haskett’s three-pointer late in the first half. In many ways, this shot, a Haskett wing three with 2:45 to play in the first half as the Crimson trailed by seven, was the turning point in the game.

Read moreHarvard rolls over Cornell, 74-55, into Ivy title game

The Ivies: They’re not who we thought they were, but don’t let them off the hook

This was the season A two-bid Ivy. Mitch Henderson said it was possible preseason. The schedules aligned with some huge early-season games.
And the top of the Ivies were playing them, with the top as strong as ever. At least most of us thought that.
And then reality broke the glass.

Read moreThe Ivies: They’re not who we thought they were, but don’t let them off the hook

2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

This is part 1 of IHO’s 2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview. Read part 2 here

The rise of the Ivy League is projected to continue.

The Ancient Eight is slated by KenPom as the 13th-best conference in Division I this season, just seven years after it placed 26th. That’s a quantum leap, a product of the league’s bolstered recruiting in that time frame. The Ivy hoops status quo now consists of top-25 recruiting classes, Nike Skills Academy members and expectations of NCAA Tournament success.

There’s a three-way cluster between Harvard, Princeton and Yale projected to top the league. In the Ivy Preseason Media Poll, Yale received the most first-place votes (eight) but Harvard garnered the most points overall. Without a clear conference favorite, it’s quite likely that the regular season champion will not also be the conference tournament winner, with Bart Torvik’s Ivy Tourney Simulator tabbing Penn as the favorite in an Ivy tourney as a No. 4 seed.

Read more2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

Harvard season preview: Slew of sophomore studs looks to lead Crimson

Last season, Harvard lost to Yale in heartbreaking fashion in the first round of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament. The Crimson graduated Siyani Chambers and Zena Edosomwan, both of whom made indelible impacts on the program. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine a successful Harvard season without Siyani Chambers. And yet, the Crimson comes into the 2017-18 season as the preseason favorite, according to the Ivy Preseason Media Poll. While the poll predicted an incredibly close race between Harvard and familiar foes Yale and Princeton, the sentiment of the voters is clear: No one expects Harvard to take a step back this year. Here are the details on how Harvard hopes to turn high expectations on paper into actual success on the court:

Read moreHarvard season preview: Slew of sophomore studs looks to lead Crimson