Men’s Basketball Earns Season-Opening Victory over MIT, 78-66

Photo by Paul Rutherford
Photo by Paul Rutherford
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Opening the 2018-19 campaign on the first day of college basketball around the country, Harvard men's basketball triumphed over MIT, 78-66, on Tuesday night at Lavietes Pavilion.

Junior Chris Lewis led the offense with 20 points on a highly-efficient 9-for-11 tally from the field, while also rejecting a game-high three blocks. First-year Noah Kirkwood ended in double figures with 13 points, while junior Justin Bassey added nine. Showcasing its depth, the Harvard bench combined for 35 points.

The Crimson (1-0) jumped out to an early 16-9 advantage after three early baskets from Lewis and two from Kirkwood, but the Engineers (0-1) closed the gap and evened the score, 22-22, with just over seven minutes to play in the opening stanza. Junior Robert Baker tallied six points late in the half, while Bassey added a four-point play, as the Crimson led 40-39 at the break.

Lewis erupted for the first eight points of the second half, while baskets from sophomore Rio Haskett and junior Henry Welsh pushed the Harvard lead into double digits with just under 15 minutes remaining. The Crimson led comfortably for the remainder of the contest, outscoring the Engineers in the second frame, 38-27, for its first victory of the season.

Harvard Highlights

  • Lewis totaled 20 points to lead the Crimson, giving him his sixth-career effort with at least 20 points
  • The contest marked the career-debuts for Kirkwood, Spencer Freedman, Kale Catchings and Mason Forbes.
  • 11 different players scored for Harvard, while 10 different players dished at least one assist.

Game Notes

  • Harvard improves to 56-9 all-time in the series history with MIT.
  • The Crimson picked up a win in its opener for the seventh-straight year. Harvard has won 13 straight home openers.
  • Harvard shot 59.3 percent from the field (30-for-55).

What's Next?
Harvard continues its two-game homestand to kick off the season when it welcomes cross-town rival Northeastern on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.