Baker, Kirkwood Lead Men’s Basketball in 89-55 Rout of Massachusetts

Chris Ledlum jumps in the air for the dunk
Chris Ledlum flies through the air for a dunk against UMass, one of two jams on the day for the first-year. (Photo Courtesy/Erica Denhoff)
Play Video

CAMBRIDGE, Mass – Harvard men's basketball bounced back in a big way on Saturday, using a dominant shooting performance to defeat the Massachusetts Minutemen, 89-55. The Crimson shot at a season-best 58.1-percent clip, led by senior Robert Baker's 7-of-10 shooting performance en route to a career-high 19 points. Sophomore Noah Kirkwood helped out with a season-high 19 points of his own on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor.

Defensively, the Crimson was paced by senior guard Bryce Aiken, who led the way in holding the Minutemen to a 16-percent mark from beyond the arc and their second-lowest scoring output this season (46 points versus No. 7/6 Virginia).

Play opened up with a quick three from Baker off the opening tip. After UMass answered with a three of their own, senior Chris Lewis gave the Crimson the lead that it would hold for the rest of the game.

A couple of dunks from Baker and first-year Chris Ledlum highlighted a first half where Harvard forced eight turnovers and led 41-24 going into the break 

The Crimson did not let up in the second half, using a quick 7-0 run to build a 24-point advantage. The next bucket by Lewis would be the 1,000th point of his career, the 36th player in program history to reach the career milestone.

Harvard would go on a 30-15 scoring run in the final 12 minutes to secure the victory in their only home game in the month of December. The 34-point margin of victory is Harvard's largest in series history, erasing the old margin of 26 points set in 1957-58.

Harvard Highlights

  • Harvard's 89 points are the most scored in a game this season
  • The Crimson shot a season-high 58.1-percent from the field, led by Baker and Kirkwood who shot a combined 14-of-19 from the floor.
  • First-year Chris Ledlum continued his electric play, throwing down two dunks in the contest, bring his total to a team-best six.

Game Notes

  • The 34-point margin of victory is the largest in series history
  • Harvard has now won three-straight games against the Minutemen, the first time the Crimson has accomplished the feat in series history.  
  • Baker dumped in a career-high 19 points against UMass. His previous best was 14, a total he hit twice before.
  • Harvard held advantages in points in the paint (46-28), fast-break points (14-10),  and bench points (36-16).

Next Up
Harvard returns to action on Dec. 21 at George Washington. Game time is set for noon ET. The Crimson will not return to Lavietes Pavillion until January 4th when they clash with UC Irvine in its final non-conference matchup.