Men’s Basketball Tops Columbia, 83-81 (OT), Wins Seventh Ivy League Championship

Photo by Steven Ryan
Photo by Steven Ryan
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NEW YORK – Showing resilience on the road en route to jubilation, Harvard men's basketball outlasted Columbia, 83-81, in overtime to claim its seventh Ivy League Championship, and second in a row. By virtue of the win, Harvard claims the top seed in the 2019 Ivy League Tournament, presented by TIAA.

Junior Bryce Aiken led the scoring with 36 points on 10-for-19 shooting, including six triples and a 10-for-11 mark at the free throw line, while also distributing five assists. First-year Noah Kirkwood was in double figures with 10, while classmate Mason Forbes and sophomore Danilo Djuricic tallied nine apiece. Junior Chris Lewis was strong inside, finishing with eight points and a season-high 11 rebounds.

Harvard opened up a four-point lead early in the first-half, with Forbes leading the way with seven early tallies. Columbia responded to tie the game, and scored nine of the final 11 points of the opening frame to take a seven-point lead into the half, 44-37.

Eight straight points from Aiken and a dunk on the break from Forbes erased the Columbia advantage with 11 minutes to play, but the Lions were able to rebuild a six-point lead with four minutes to go. Aiken and Lewis combined to score six points late, and Kirkwood connected on a pair at the free throw line to send the contest to overtime.

Djuricic scored the first five Harvard points of overtime, and picked off a pass that ended in a fast break dunk to give the Crimson a three-point lead, 79-76, with 33 seconds to go. Harvard went 7-for-7 from the free throw line in overtime, and Columbia's 3-point attempt in the closing seconds missed to give Harvard the win and Ivy title.

Harvard Highlights

  • Aiken scored 36 points to lead the way. Both of his highest scoring outputs this season came against the Lions (44 – Feb. 8).
  • Nine different players scored for the Crimson, with Kirkwood tallying 10, and Forbes and Djuricic nine each. The nine for Forbes was a career high.
  • The Crimson went 26-for-28 from the free throw line.

Game Notes

  • Harvard is a back-to-back Ivy League champion for the first time since 2015, which ended a run of five in a row. The Crimson shares the title with Yale, with the championship its seventh in nine years.
  • The Crimson has won nine-straight overtime games, and 19 of the last 20. The win was Harvard's 14th in a row in extra time against Ivy opponents.
  • The win was Harvard's second this season when coming back from a double-digit deficit.

What's Next?
Harvard claimed the top seed in the Ivy League Tournament, and will face fourth-seeded Penn on Saturday, March 16 at 12:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.