Men’s Basketball Clinches Ivy Tournament Berth, Downs Penn 59-53

Photo by Gil Talbot
Photo by Gil Talbot
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Clinching a berth to the Ivy League Tournament in its penultimate home game, Harvard men's basketball earned a victory over Penn, 59-53, on Friday night at Lavietes Pavilion. Harvard improved to 15-9 (8-3 Ivy) on the season, while Penn fell to 16-11 (4-7 Ivy).

The Crimson held its third Ivy opponent this season under 55 points, holding Penn to 34.5 percent shooting in the game. Four players ended in double figures for Harvard – first-year Noah Kirkwood and junior Bryce Aiken had 12, sophomore Rio Haskett totaled 11 and classmate Danilo Djuricic tallied 10. Additionally, Kirkwood posted his first-career double-double with 10 rebounds.

Djuricic sparked the Crimson early with a pair of 3-pointers, helping Harvard to a 10-7 lead after seven minutes. 13 of Harvard's 22 first-half points came from the bench, but a Penn run gave the visitors a four-point lead at the half, 26-22.

Harvard seized control at the start of the second frame, scoring the first eight points of the period with baskets from Haskett, first-year Mason Forbes and Kirkwood. The Quakers held the game tight midway through the frame until Harvard unleaded a 12-4 run with 10 minutes to go to take an eight-point lead. The Crimson defense held the Penn offense to just two field goals over the final seven minutes to walk off with the win.

Harvard Highlights

  • Kirkwood tallied his first-career double-double, doing so with 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
  • Aiken (12), Haskett (11) and Djuricic (10) also finished in double figures.
  • Harvard held its third Ivy opponent under 55 points this season, joining Yale (49 – Feb. 1) and Brown (47 – Feb. 2).

Game Notes

  • Harvard sweeps the season series with the win, and improves to 44-122 all-time against the Quakers.
  • Aiken and Christian Juzang combined for 11 assists, while Penn as a team tallied 10.
  • Harvard has qualified for the Ivy League Tournament in each of the first three seasons.

What's Next?
The Crimson caps its 2018-19 home schedule with a contest against Princeton March 2 at 7 p.m. Before the game, Harvard will celebrate its senior class, and the bout will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Westwood One radio.