Strong First Half Leads Men’s Basketball Past Cornell, 87-75

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A balanced attack pushed Harvard men's basketball past Cornell, 87-75, Saturday evening at Lavietes Pavilion in front of 1,979 fans. Seth Towns paced the Crimson (16-7, 8-2 Ivy) with 21 points, his second-straight 20-plus game.

With the win, Tommy Amaker, The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball, moved into a tie for sixth place in conference history with 92 Ivy League victories.

The Crimson also clinches a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Championship. 

Senior Zena Edosomwan added 14 points and two steals, while freshman Chris Lewis neared a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Rookie Bryce Aike contributed to the four players in double-figures by registering 17.

Matt Morgan and Jack Gordon each posted 13 points for the Big Red (7-18, 3-7 Ivy). Stone Gettings and Josh Warren added 11 points each.

Harvard started an 11-0 run with just under 16 minutes to play. Seth Towns nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner to start the rally. Rookie Justin Bassey stole the ball and sprinted down the court, setting up an alley-oop to Edosomwan to give Harvard an 16-8 advantage. Aiken knocked down a triple one minute later to put the Crimson ahead 11, 19-8.

The Big Red brought the score within four points, 19-15, and trailed by only five halfway through the stanza. Lewis slammed a pass from Bassey home to start an 11-3 run, capped by a Towns three at the 6:38 mark. Ahead 32-21, Harvard did not take its foot off the gas, scoring 13 of the final 15 points in the first half to take a 20-point advantage into the locker room.

Harvard held Cornell off in the first four minutes of the second half, only allotting five points from Cornell's offense. Cornell edged out the Crimson by rattling off a 15-6 run during the middle stretch of the second half. The run was stopped by a pair of free throws from Aiken at 9:27. A steal from Edosomwan led to a two-point layup from Chambers to increase the Crimson lead to 15, 65-50 with just under nine minutes to go. 

With under eight to play, Bassey added a three-pointer from Chambers to bring the score to 70-52. The Big Red scored nine of the next 12 points, but would get no closer than 10 the rest of the way.

Harvard will host Yale and Brown in their final home weekend of regular-season play. The Crimson will face the Bulldogs on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m., and Brown on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.

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

Game Notes: Seth Towns posted double-digits for the 14th time this season. It marked the third time that Towns has scored 20-plus. Harvard is 10-0 this season when leading at the half. Edosomwan earned his fourth double-digit game this season. Bryce Aiken posted double-digits for the 15th game this year. Tommy Amaker, The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball, moved up to sixth place in the most Ivy victories with 92.