Men’s Basketball Holds on to Best Columbia, 78-72

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Play Video

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard men's basketball held off a strong second half from Columbia, walking away with a 78-72 victory Friday evening at Lavietes Pavilion. The Crimson was led by 20 points from freshman Seth Towns and 13 points and eight assists from senior co-captain Siyani Chambers.

Rookie Bryce Aiken added 12 points for Harvard (15-7, 7-2 Ivy), who shot 58.1 percent from the floor in the first half.

Patrick Tape came up big for Columbia (10-12, 4-5), posting 13 points and six rebounds, including 10 in the second half. Mike Smith paced the Lions with 13 points, while Luke Petrasek and Quinton Adlesh added 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The Crimson utilized a hot start to jump out to a 15-4 lead, making seven of its first eight shots. The spurt was capped by a Zena Edosomwan and-one, converting the three-point play with 4:14 gone. Leading 17-9, Harvard rattled off a 9-1 run, expanding its lead to 16, 26-10, at the 12:24 mark.

Seven minutes later, an Aiken three from the wing gave the Crimson a 37-20 advantage. Columbia would not relent, scoring 10 of the next 15 points to pull within 12, 42-30, with under three minutes before the half. Harvard scored the final four points of the stanza to take a 46-30 advantage into the break.  

The Lions rattled off a 12-4 rally to open the second half, pulling within eight, 50-42, with 15:44 left to play. Towns halted the run with a 3-pointer in the corner, off a dish from Chambers. After exchanging baskets, the Lions posted an 8-3 rally, crawling within seven, 59-52, at the 10:23 mark.

Chris Lewis buried a second-chance opportunity, before CJ Davis knocked down two-straight lay-ups, narrowing the lead five, 61-56. A 6-0 run brought the Lions within two, 64-62, before Aiken knocked down a triple from the corner at the 6:40 mark.  

Harvard expanded its lead to seven, 69-62, before eight-unanswered points from the Lions put the visiting team ahead, 70-69, with 3:12 to play. Senior co-captain Corbin Miller did not hesitate, burying a 3-pointer in front of the bench to put the Crimson back ahead, 72-70. Free throws by Weisner Perez, Chambers and Aiken down the stretch secured the Harvard win.

For the full, archived game on the Ivy League Digital Network, click here.

Harvard will be back in action at home tomorrow against Cornell. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Game Notes: Seth Towns posted double-digits for the 13th time this season. It marked the second time that Towns has scored 20-plus. This marked the first start for Bryce Aiken since Northeastern on Dec. 6. Harvard is 9-0 this season when leading at the half. Chambers posted 10-plus for the 12th time this year and 70th overall. Bryce Aiken posted double-digits for the 14th game this year.