Aiken Nets Career-Best 30, Hits Game-Winner in 70-67 (OT) Win Over Massachusetts

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Scoring 12 of the Crimson's last 16 points, including a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds to go, sophomore Bryce Aiken led Harvard men's basketball to a 70-67 win over Massachusetts in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Lavietes Pavilion.

Aiken netted a career-best 30, including four threes, while also adding a career-high eight rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Chris Lewis was in double figures for the second-straight game with 15 points, while junior Corey Johnson pitched in 10 of his own, including two triples. 

Johnson got the Crimson on the board first, netting a three-pointer to start the contest. Three minutes into the first half, Lewis denied the Minutemen with a thundering rejection, earning his second and Harvard's third block of the day. Two beautiful 3-pointers from Aiken and a key layup from freshman Danilo Djuricic gave the Crimson back the lead, 18-14, with seven minutes left in the first. At the 4:30 mark, sophomore Robert Baker stole the ball before hustling down the court to complete the dunk. To cap off the first half, Aiken stepped to the free-throw line for the second time, completing both, to go 3-for-4 in the first half. After the first 20 minutes, Harvard controlled a 29-25 lead over Massachusetts.

Halfway through the second, with Harvard down by one, freshman Rio Haskett found Lewis for a powerful alley-oop to help the Crimson regain the lead, 41-40. It was a fight to the finish as Harvard and UMass remained tied at 48 apiece with less than four minutes on the clock. Late in the game, sophomore Seth Towns took a behind the back feed from Aiken for the single-hand dunk, giving the Crimson a 51-50 lead. In the final minute of the game, three lead changes ended with the Crimson on top, 56-55 thanks to a layup from Aiken. Aiken then stepped to the line for two, completing both, to give the Crimson the edge, 58-55 with 12 seconds left in the half. A 3-pointer from UMass capped off regulation, sending the game into overtime.

Aiken took over in the extra frame, scoring eight of the Crimson's 12 points. The point guard hit a pair of clutch free throws with 12 seconds to go, giving Harvard a three point lead, but the Minutemen responded with a deep triple to tie the game at 67. Undeterred, Aiken brought the ball down the floor and pulled up for a deep game-winning 3-pointer to give Harvard the win with just 1.9 seconds to go.

Harvard Highlights:

  • Aiken reached the 30-point mark for the first time in his career, netting a game-winning three with 1.9 seconds left in overtime.
  • Lewis tallied a season-high 15 points, while rejecting three shots for the second-straight game.
  • Freshman Rio Haskett dazzled defensively, posting a game-high three steals.
  • The Crimson controlled the free throw battle, going 18-for-23 from the stripe while UMass made 11 attempts.

Game Notes:

  • Harvard toppled UMass for the first time in the last four meetings, and improves to 9-16 all-time.
  • Aiken is Harvard's first to net 30 in a game since Wesley Saunders '15, who scored 33 against Brown on Feb. 6, 2015.
  • Harvard is 1-0 in overtime this season, and hasn't lost an extra time game since Jan. 14, 2015 against Boston College.

What's Next?
Harvard hits the road for the first time this season, traveling to Holy Cross Nov. 16 and Manhattan Nov. 18. Tipoffs are set for 7 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.