CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Returning home for its final pre-Ivy League action, Harvard men's basketball will take on Vermont on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. The tip-off will be broadcast on NESNplus and the Ivy League Network.
The Opening Tip
• Harvard is off to a 5-8 start with victories over MIT, UMass, Saint Joseph's, Fordham, and Boston University. Sophomore Bryce Aiken leads the Crimson with 17.6 points per game, including a career-best 30 in a victory over the Minutemen, while classmate Chris Lewis has been strong inside, scoring 11.8 points per game on 57.1 percent shooting. A third sophomore, Seth Towns, has added 12.4 per game, including a season-high 25 at No. 7 Kentucky Dec. 2.
• 16 different Harvard players have started a game this season, which leads the nation. Deploying a balanced attack, Harvard has 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game this season.
• Harvard is playing Vermont on Jan. 2 for the second-consecutive season, and leads the all-time series 18-13. Harvard is looking for its first win in the series since 2014.
Defending the Goal
With one game until Ancient Eight action begins, Harvard has boasted the top scoring defense in the conference. The Crimson has limited its foes to just 68.8 points per game, besting second-place Penn (68.9) and third-place Princeton (70.3), despite playing the league's toughest non-conference schedule, according to KenPom rankings.
Last Time Out
Despite limiting Minnesota to its lowest offensive output of the season, Harvard men's basketball fell in a defensive battle with the Golden Gophers, 65-55, on Saturday afternoon at Williams Arena.
Junior Corey Johnson led the Crimson (5-8) with 12 points to go with six rebounds, while sophomores Seth Towns and Chris Lewis were also in double figures with 10 points apiece. Sophomore Justin Bassey tied a career-high with 10 rebounds, while classmate Christian Juzang dished a career-best six assists.
Home Court Advantage
Harvard is 3-0 at home this season, and holds a .800 winning percentage at home under head coach Tommy Amaker. The Crimson has won seven straight games at home, and 13 of its last 14. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Harvard holds a 21-7 home record against Ivy League opponents.
Harvard has been on television in some form for 12 of its first 13 games, including a Dec. 2 contest on ESPN's main channel against Kentucky. It was just the second time in program history that Harvard men's basketball appeared on ESPN's flagship channel, with the first coming in 2011 against Oklahoma State. In total, the Crimson is set to play 25 televised games in 2017-18, which paces the Ivy League.
Additionally, freshman Danilo Djuricic appeared in SportsCenter's top-10 plays countdown Dec. 6 after his ferocious tip-jam against Fordham.
Player of the Week
Opening the season with a career-best performance, Harvard men's basketball sophomore Bryce Aiken was selected as the Ivy League Player of the Week for Nov. 6-12.
Aiken became Harvard's first player to net 30 in a game since Wesley Saunders '15, guiding the Crimson to a 70-67 (OT) victory over Massachusetts. The Randolph, New Jersey native poured in 12 of Harvard's final 16 points, including a game-winning stop-and-pop 3-pointer from 26 feet with just 1.9 seconds to go in the extra frame. Aiken also scored 12 points in the opener against MIT, and shot a dazzling 58 percent from 3-point range over the two games.
The Catamounts are led by John Becker in his seventh season, and are 8-5 to start the 2017-18 season. Vermont is coming off a berth in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, where it earned a 13-seed.
Anthony Lamb leads the team with 16.8 points per game and 6.0 rebounds, while three other players average double-figure scoring: Trae Bell-Haynes, Ernie Duncan and Payton Henson.
Picked at the Top
Harvard men's basketball was picked by the media to finish first in the preseason Ivy League poll, finishing above Yale, Princeton and Penn with 121 total votes. Additionally, Harvard received votes in both the Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches' poll. The full preseason predictions can be found below:
Team (1st place) – Total Votes
- Harvard (6) – 121
- Yale (8) - 118
- Princeton (3) - 114
- Penn - 86
- Columbia - 55
- Cornell - 48
- Dartmouth - 39
- Brown – 31
Harvard is getting 73 percent of its scoring from its sophomore class, led by 17.6 points per game from Aiken, 12.4 from Towns and 11.8 from Lewis. Additionally, Justin Bassey and Robert Baker have provided 4.6 and 4.1 per game, respectively.
Ivy League Network
The Ivy League Network returns for a fifth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight. Full archives of every game on the Ivy League Network are also available.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Network or to sign-up today, click here, or download the Ivy League Network app!
Harvard hosts Dartmouth in its Ivy League opener on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast by ESPN3 and the Ivy League Network.