Pictured: Brandyn Curry had all 13 of his points in the second half of Friday's 74-45 win at Columbia (Associated Press)
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Harvard men’s basketball team cruised through the first leg of its New York weekend with a 74-45 victory over Columbia at Levien Gymnasium on Friday night.
Harvard improves to 14-3, 3-0 Ivy on the season while Columbia
dips to 6-11 overall and 0-3 in the conference after starting its
league season with three games against Cornell and Harvard.
The victory sets up a much-anticipated battle in Ithaca, N.Y. on Saturday night against the two-time defending Ivy champion Cornell Big Red, which blasted Dartmouth, 71-37, Friday night. Cornell (17-3, 3-0 Ivy) was a unanimous preseason favorite to win its third-straight league crown this year.
Friday’s win gave Harvard its seventh-straight victory, a
stretch of success not seen since the 1995-96 season. The team has
already matched its victory output from last season.
Playing in front of a capacity and pro-Harvard crowd, Harvard jumped on top early and never looked back, methodically extending its lead through speedy team defense and impressive ball movement.
Jeremy Lin scored 13 first half points and Brandyn Curry had 13 in the second for a Harvard team that saw nine players score at least four points. No starter logged more than 26 minutes (Christian Webster) and Curry had a team-high 27 minutes coming off the bench. Speaking of the bench, reserve players scored 35 points all told.
The first half saw Harvard come out hot with plenty of defensive pressure. The Crimson connected on 6-of-8 to start in building a 13-5 lead just over five minutes into the game. Noruwa Agho hit a series of tough shots coming off curl screens and teamed with Patrick Foley drives to try and keep Columbia in contention. Foul trouble eventually caught up the Lions however as Harvard connected on all 10 free throw chances while hitting 57 percent from the floor (13-23) for a 41-26 lead.
Lin repeatedly carved his way to the rim in the opening half (5-6 FG) and he did not attempt a shot in the second half while sitting out the final eight minutes.
Agho had 12 points and Foley 10 in the first half on combined 8-for-14 shooting but the rest of the Lions team combined to shot 0-for-5 with four points.
Agho and Foley did not score in the second half as Harvard limited the Lions to just 19 points.
Harvard shot nearly identical marks in both halves, going 13-of-23 (.565) in the first and 12-of-22 in the second (.545) to finish at 55.6 percent for the game. Harvard was 8-of-16 from long range. Columbia, which entered as the fifth-best 3-point shooting team in the nation, was just 1-for-11 from deep.