Junior Keith Wright tied a career-high with 22 points (Mitchell Layton).
FAIRFAX, Va. – Keith Wright netted Harvard's first 10 points and finished with a game-high 22, but the Harvard men's basketball team opened its season with a 66-53 loss at George Mason at the Patriot Center Saturday afternoon. Wright, who tied his career best in points, also established a new-career high with 16 rebounds, including 10 on the defensive end, to earn the second double-double of his career.
Brandyn Curry contributed seven points, eight assists and six rebounds, while Christian Webster had 11 points and Oliver McNally added seven points Harvard, which falls to 0-1. Luke Hancock led the way for George Mason (1-0) with 14 points, while Cam Long had eight points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
After a jumper from the left side by Wright opened the scoring from the Crimson, Harvard continued to attack the basket, as Wright drained two free throws to put his team up, 4-2. Wright, who had 15 points in the first half, drilled another jumper from the top of the pain moments later at 16:43. Another basket by Wright at 13:12 to put Harvard up, 8-7, but the Patriots went on a 6-0 run to pull ahead, 13-8. Wright hit another layup at 11:02 to stretch his scoring streak to 10 points. Following a steal by Wright on the ensuing Patriot possession, McNally hit two from the line to move Harvard within one, 13-12.
With 4:21 to play in the first half, Webster fired a trey from the corner to cut a nine-point deficit for Harvard to 28-22. Curry made another jumper on Harvard's next possession to make it a four-point game, 28-24. In the final minute of the opening stanza, Curry was fouled in a one-on-one situation and hit both shots, making it 32-28 in favor of George Mason heading into the locker room. The Crimson was 9-of-25 from the field in the first half, while holding a 21-17 edge in rebounds.
The Patriots opened the second half with a 7-2 run to take a 39-30 lead over the Crimson, but a three-pointer by Webster before the first media timeout got Harvard back within six, 39-33. George Mason's Cam Long though hit two straight three-pointers to give the Patriots its biggest lead, 45-33, at 13:40. The Patriots continued its run, going up by as much as 19 with 8:53 to go.
With 1:52 to go, Wright converted a conventional three-pointer to tie his career-best with 22 points. Wright finished the game 9-of-12 and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe.
In the second half, Harvard only shot 9-of-30 from the floor to finish the game 18-of-55. The Crimson had 14 second chance points and was 12-of-15 from the free-throw line in the contest.
Harvard will have three days off before hosting Holy Cross for the Crimson's season opener Wednesday, Nov. 17. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.