Men’s Basketball Defeats MIT, 78-63, in Exhibition

Bryce Aiken made his debut at Lavietes Pavilion, leading the Crimson with 17 points (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A second half surge fueled Harvard men's basketball (0-0) to a 78-63 win over MIT in its season-opening exhibition Thursday night at Lavietes Pavilion. Freshman Bryce Aiken paced the offense with a team-high 17 points and five rebounds in his collegiate debut.

Christian Juzang and Seth Towns also contributed double-figures in their first career action, posting 14 and 12 points respectively. The Crimson forced MIT into 28 turnovers.

MIT (0-0), shooting nearly 46 percent from the floor, was led by Bradley Jomard with 14 points, as Spencer Rust added a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.

The Crimson scored 12 of the first 17 points, capped by a triple from Chambers at the 16:17 mark. MIT battled with two, 12-10, but Lewis started a 12-3 spurt over the next five minutes to hold an 11-point advantage, 24-13, at the halfway mark of the first half.

The two teams traded baskets until the Engineers scored five-straight to narrow the Crimson advantage to five, 26-21, four minutes later. Harvard inched out to double-digits again, 33-23, but MIT scored six of the final eight points before the break. Harvard headed to the locker room ahead, 35-29.

Harvard scored nine of the first 12 points to open its lead back to 12, 44-32, four minutes into the second half. After MIT had pulled within eight, Aiken responded with four-straight points that started a 6-0 rally and gave the Crimson a 50-36 cushion at the under-12 media timeout.

MIT would get no closer than nine the rest of the way, as Harvard posted a 78-63 win. 

Harvard, in coordination with the Pac-12 and Stanford, will officially open the season next week in Shanghai, China against Stanford for the 2016 Pac-12 China Game presented by Alibaba Group. The contest will be televised on ESPN2 on Nov. 11 at 11 p.m. ET.

Game Notes: In their first career action, Bryce Aiken and Christian Juzang posted double-figures with 17 and 14 points, respectively. The Crimson played seven freshmen.  Seth Towns tallied 12 points and five rebounds in his first career start, while Chris Egi went 5-6 on field goals and contributed 10 points. Siyani Chambers returned to the court for the first time since 2014-2015, adding nine points, four assists and four rebounds.