The Harvard men's basketball team will play for a championship on Christmas day as the Crimson and No. 3/2 Oklahoma meet in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic final. Tip off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EST live on ESPN2 with Roxy Bernstein and Brad Daugherty on the call.
The Crimson advanced to the championship game with a 69-61 win over Auburn in the semifinals. Oklahoma, meanwhile, defeated host Hawaii to reach the title game, 84-81.
Last Time Out
Five Crimson scored in double-figures as the Harvard men's basketball team defeated Auburn Wednesday afternoon, 69-51, to advance to the championship game of the 2015 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
Corey Johnson scored a team-high 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3. Evan Cummins turned in a career-high 13 points and was 5-of-6 from the floor to go with five rebounds and five assists. Zena Edosomwan also scored 13 points with six rebounds and three assists.
The Crimson's defense was on display, holding Auburn to season-lows in points (51), field goal percentage (30.2) and 3-point percentage (24.0).
Inside the Series - No. 3/2 Oklahoma
• Oklahoma is currently ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, representing the highest ranking of a Harvard opponent since the Crimson played at AP No. 1 Duke on Nov. 30, 1991 during Tommy Amaker's tenure as an assistant coach with the Blue Devils.
• Harvard boasts four wins over ranked opponents under Tommy Amaker, representing the only four wins versus ranked opponents in program history.
• Including Friday's game against Oklahoma, Harvard will have played against three teams ranked in this week's Associated Press top 10 (lost at Providence, 76-64; lost at Kansas, 75-69) and six games against teams ranked in the top 150 of the RPI (Oklahoma, Providence, Kansas, Auburn, Northeastern, BYU).
• Harvard is 1-8 all-time against the Big 12 with the lone win coming against TCU in the championship game of the 2013 Great Alaska Shootout, 71-50. Friday's meeting will mark the first between Harvard and Oklahoma.
• Tommy Amaker and Lon Kruger have met once previously as head coaches with Kruger's Illinois squad defeating Amaker's Seton Hall Pirates 72-61 on Dec. 5, 1999.
Creating a Winning Culture
Harvard has posted a 142-49 (.743) overall record since the start of the 2009-10 season, ranking as the 16th-highest win percentage in the country over the last six-plus seasons (as of games played Dec. 20).
Harvard has posted a 63-6 (.913) record at Lavietes Pavilion since the start of the 2010-11 season, representing the eighth highest home-court win percentage in the country over the last five-plus seasons (as of games played Dec. 20).
Harvard has played in three in-season tournaments under Tommy Amaker including this year's appearance in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and boasts an 8-0 record in those tournaments.
The Crimson won the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis in 2011, taking out Central Florida in the championship game, 59-49, after knocking off No. 20 Florida State, 46-41, and Utah, 75-47.
Harvard also won the 2013 Great Alaska Shootout with a 71-50 victory over TCU in the title game. The Crimson reached the final with a 76-64 triumph over Green Bay and a 68-60 win over Denver.
Harvard leads the Ivy League in both opponent field goal percentage (38.3%) and scoring defense (64.1 ppg), having held seven opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting and four opponents to under 60 points.
Under Tommy Amaker, Harvard has held six opponents to fewer than 40 points, including MIT this season, and seven opponents to less than 30.0 percent shooting, including MIT and Bryant this season.
On the Glass
Harvard is averaging 37.6 rebounds per game and has pulled down at least 40 boards in a game five times. Under Tommy Amaker, the Crimson has never averaged more than 34.2 rebounds per game for a season (2014-15) and has never had more than seven 40-rebound games in a year (2007-08, 2014-15).
From Way Down Town
Harvard has made at least five 3-pointers in all 11 games this season, the team's longest streak since going 12-straight games during the 2012-13 season (Nov. 11 - Jan. 12).
Harvard made 11 3-pointers against BYU, marking the most 3-pointers made by the team since hitting 12 versus Penn on Feb. 1, 2014.
Weisner Perez was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Dec. 7 after averaging 14.0 ppg and 5.5 rpg in a pair of games at Northeastern and No. 4/6 Kansas. Perez is the first member of the Crimson to earn the award since Siyani Chambers '16-17 did so on March 11, 2013.
Freshmen on the Floor
Freshmen Tommy McCarthy and Corey Johnson made their first career starts versus MIT, becoming the first pair of freshmen to start a season opener for the Crimson since Max Kenyi, Oliver McNally '12 and Keith Wright '12 in 2008. Classmates Balsa Dragovic and Weisner Perez also saw the court against the Engineers, representing the first time since 2009 that at least four freshmen played in a season opener; Kyle Casey '13-14, Brandyn Curry '13-14, Dee Giger '13-14 and Christian Webster '13.
In The Spotlight
18 of Harvard's 30 games have been picked up for national or regional television broadcasts, including 11 games on the ESPN family of networks. Including this season, the Crimson will have played on TV 83 times since 2010-11.
FIBA U19 World Championships
Chris Egi, Corey Johnson and Weisner Perez competed at the highest level over the summer, representing their respective countries at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships in Greece.
Egi, who was appointed as a captain by his coaching staff, paired with Johnson to lift Team Canada to a fifth-place finish, the country's highest finish at the competition.
Perez, meanwhile, helped the Dominican Republic finish 13th in its first appearance since 1983.
Edosomwan in China
Junior Zena Edosomwan spent three weeks this summer in China with the WILSA program hosting basketball camps and discussing college options with local youths.
On The Sidelines
Head coach Tommy Amaker's 166 wins at Harvard rank second all-time in Harvard coaching annals and are the seventh-most in the Ivy League since the conference began competition in 1956. His 78 Ivy League victories, meanwhile, have him tied with former Cornell and current Penn head coach Steve Donahue (2000-10) for 10th place in conference history.
Frank Sullivan, 1991-2007
Amaker has led Harvard to five-straight Ivy League championships, tying him with former Penn coach Bob Weinhauer (1977-82) for the third most titles in Ancient Eight history.
Amaker's .661 win percentage (166-84), meanwhile, ranks first among Harvard coaches who have spent at least two seasons at the helm of the team.
Tommy Amaker, 2007-present
Harvard will be well represented in the professional ranks this season as six former members of the Crimson continue their playing careers.
Harvard has gone 88-51 in non-conference play under head coach Tommy Amaker, including seven-straight seasons with a winning out-of-conference mark.
Harvard owns a 14-21 record against power conference opponents under Tommy Amaker. The Crimson defeated Boston College in six straight seasons from 2009-2014, and has also topped Auburn, California, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida State, Michigan, TCU and Utah.