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.

UMass trailed 39-31 at the half but fought back and took its first lead of the game with 10:53 remaining. Justin Bassey would then respond seconds later with a baseline three-pointer. UMass only led three times in the entire game for less than two minutes combined.

UMass was trailing 70-65 with 1:07 to go when Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent would hit a tough baseline layup to cut the UMass deficit to three. On the other end, Christian Juzang missed an open wing three for the Crimson, and Luwane Pipkins got fouled for a one-and-one with 39 seconds to go for the Minutemen. Pipkins would complete both ends of the one-and-one for two of his total 36 points on the night. Harvard then killed some clock, but with 9.6 seconds to go, Justin Bassey drove and get fouled by Jonathan Laurent. Bassey hit both, and Luwane Pipkins responded with a layup on the other end to make it 72-71 with three seconds remaining. Christian Juzang was fouled on the inbound and make both free throws with 2.3 seconds remaining. Luwane Pipkins would drive, cross half-court and chuck up a prayer that hit the front rim and bounced out and Harvard would held on for the win, 74-71.

Harvard will play next on Friday at 7 p.m. against the Rhode Island Rams at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. This will be the first time Harvard is matching up with Rhode Island since the 1992-93 season. The game will be telecast live on ESPN+.

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