Pictured: Brandyn Curry logged 21 points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds against Brown (Laina Balafas).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Harvard men's basketball team tied a program record for victories with its 19th as the Crimson toppled visiting Brown, 91-71, Friday night at Lavietes Pavilion.
With the U.S. Secretary of Education and former Harvard basketball MVP Arne Duncan '87 as well as the Boston Celtics' Shelden Williams in attendance, Harvard methodically wore down the Bears in improving to 19-6 overall and 8-3 in the Ivy League.
The Crimson ties its previous wins record set back in 1945-46 and also assured itself of the program's first winning Ivy League season since going 10-4 in 1996-97. Brown, which defeated Princeton last weekend, sees its record dip to 10-18 (3-8 Ivy). Harvard now enters play on Saturday in second place ahead of the Tigers by half a game.
It has been appropriately stated by Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker that the Ivy League punishes youth but quite the opposite was true Friday night as the Crimson's underclassmen scored 73 points with the freshmen tallying 43 of them.
Brandyn Curry scored 13 of his career-high 21 points in the first half and finished with five assists, five steals and four rebounds in an 8-of-10 (4-5 3PT) shooting display. Oliver McNally, meanwhile, continued his hot hand as he converted all four looks in the first half (3-3 3PT) to score 11 of his 14 points.
The teams came out red hot from the floor but Harvard only got hotter as the Crimson took a 54-33 lead into halftime. Brown edged out to a 19-15 lead at the 10:14 mark and also led 25-23 before Harvard stepped on the gas and scored nine-straight as part of a 17-2 run as the Crimson held the Bears without a field goal for a span of 6:33.
In all Harvard, closed the first half on a 31-8 run with the home side bombing away from outside with a 7-of-10 mark and a 55 percent success rate overall (21-38). Ball movement sparked the shooting as the team assisted on 16 of its 21 shots with just three turnovers - two of them on charges.
The second half was played evenly but Brown never challenged as the Crimson made its first three looks from long range and finished at 58 percent overall from the floor with 12 triples.
Harvard, which dished out 25 assists on 36 baskets, also got double figures from freshman Christian Webster (3-4 3PT) and 10 points from sophomore Keith Wright (5-9 FG). Jeremy Lin was his usual self and plugged the box score with eight points, seven assists and six rebounds in just 27 minutes.
Pat Magnarelli also made his return to the court with a display of impressive finishing moves in a 4-for-7 mark from the floor in 17 minutes.
Harvard outscored Brown in the paint, 44-24, and received 48 bench points from its reserves.
NOTES: Harvard is 12-0 this season when shooting 50 percent overall ... Harvard improves to 17-0 on the season when leading at halftime ... Harvard has won eight games this season by 20 or more points ... Harvard's average margin of victory at home this season is 14.9 points.