Harvard Men’s Basketball Uses Second-Half Run to Top Princeton; Crimson Sets Program Season Win Mark

Harvard Men’s Basketball Uses Second-Half Run to Top Princeton;  Crimson Sets Program Season Win Mark

Kyle Casey scored 20 points in the win over Princeton (Kevin Burns).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Kyle Casey led Harvard with 20 points and eight boards, and Keith Wright tallied 12 points and camd down with six rebounds, as the Harvard men's basketball team came back to earn a 67-64 win over Princeton before a sold out Lavietes Pavilion Friday evening.

Brandyn Curry chipped in with 15 points and six assists, while Oliver McNally scored 13 points, hitting all six of his free throws, as the Crimson improve to 24-3 overall and 10-1 in the Ivy League. With the win, Harvard sets the program's single-season win mark and ties the program's best conference start (both set last season). Harvard also extends its home win streak to 28 consecutive games. The Crimson shot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) in the game, while the Tigers made 25-of-54 attempts (.463).

Ian Hummer and Douglas Davis each scored 14 points to pace Princeton (15-11, 6-4).

Harvard will conclude its home schedule by hosting Penn Saturday evening in a game shown live on ESPN3.com at 7 p.m. A Crimson victory would clinch at least a share of Harvard's second straight Ivy League title. Prior to the game, seniors Oliver McNally, Andrew Van Nest and Keith Wright will be honored during Senior Day ceremonies.

Casey made the first two Harvard baskets of the game, giving the Crimson a 5-0 lead. Brandyn Curry added a bucket, as Harvard jumped out a quick 7-0 advantage. With 14:10 left, Curry dribbled to his left and finished with a hook in the lane, as Harvard led, 11-5. The Tigers responded with a 5-0 run, but Keith Wright connected on a basket in the paint, making it 13-10.

With 10:12 to go, Curry found Wright underneath the hoop for two more points, 18-15. After Princeton grabbed a 21-20 advantage, the Tigers continued to hit outside shots and went up by six, 26-20. McNally answered with a triple from the top of the key to make it 26-23 with seven minutes to play. With just under four minutes left, Princeton went up by 10, 33-23, but Steven Moundou-Missi cut into the deficit to eight with a tough shot from the right side of the lane.

Curry nailed a trey with 1:45 remaining, getting Harvard back within three, 33-30. McNally added a reverse layup with 36 ticks left on the clock, making it 33-32. Princeton carried that one-point lead into the half, as the Tigers shot 62.5 percent from long distance (5-of-8) and 48.0 percent from the floor overall (12-of-25). Harvard, which hit 52.0 percent of its attempts (13-of-25) held a 14-12 edge in rebounds after the first 20 minutes and was led offensively by Casey, who scored 12 points and collected six rebounds in the first frame.

Princeton stretched its lead to 39-32 to start the half, but Casey got Harvard within five with a layup in the paint. Following a steal by Curry in the Princeton zone, Laurent Rivard finished with a bucket on the break, cutting the deficit to three, 39-36. With 16:44 to play, Casey drilled a jumper from the corner, as the Crimson enjoyed a 6-0 run, 39-38. Casey connected on another bucket, as Harvard remained within one point, 41-40.

With the Tigers leading, 48-42, with 11:39 remaining, Wesley Saunders went to the line and hit the first, keeping the Crimson within five. With 10:04 to go, Curry drove the baseline and hit a layup after drawing contact. Curry made the ensuing free throw, cutting Princeton's lead to just two, 50-48. Moments later, following a steal by Curry, Wright made two foul shots, tying the game, 50-50.

Wright added a tip-in with 9:29 to go, as Harvard grabbed its first lead, 52-50, since the 8:50 mark of the first half, completing a 9-0 scoring run. After Princeton reclaimed a lead, 55-54, Saunders found Curry for a 3-pointer from the right side, giving the Crimson a two-point edge, 57-55. Curry added a tough shot with just under five minutes to play, opening up a four-point lead, 59-55.

With 57 ticks left on the clock, Princeton got back within one, 59-58, but on the other end of the floor, Casey was fouled under the hoop and went to the line. Casey hit both, putting Harvard up by three, 61-58, with 31 seconds left. McNally drained two free throws with 18 seconds left, giving the Harvard a five-point edge, 63-58. With 8.8 seconds to play, McNally went to the line again and hit both to put the game out of reach, 65-61.