SAN FRANCISCO – The Harvard men's basketball team fended off a scrappy San Francisco team on Monday night to earn an 84-81 overtime road win to notch its fifth straight win. The decision moved the Crimson to 10-4, while the Dons dropped to 11-4.
Harvard found itself up, 61-46, with 6:40 left in the second half before USF blitzed the Crimson with three-pointer after three-pointer. Jordan Ratinho, Khalil Shabazz (twice) and Jordan Lull all made treys to slice its deficit to seven points. San Francisco's hole then became three points when Charles Minlend connected on an and-1 and a free throw.
The Crimson stopped the run with a Chris Ledlum bucket, but USF kept coming and eventually cut its deficit to 69-68 with 2:46 to go. Chris Lewis pushed the Harvard lead to three with a bucket in the paint, but Jamaree Bouyea nailed a triple with 1:33 left to level the score. Ratinho had a look beyond the arc with one second remaining, but the attempt was off the mark, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Lewis got the visitors on the board first only to have USF take a 74-73 lead over its next two possessions. Although Harvard was unable to score on its next trip down, its defense forced a missed layup and Christian Juzang hit a jumper, pushing the Crimson to a 75-74 lead and an advantage it would not relinquish.
Juzang later made a three-pointer and Lewis made consecutive baskets, pushing Harvard to an 82-78 lead. San Francisco would not go away, however, as Bouyea cashed in a three to bring the home side to within one with 22 seconds left in OT. Noah Kirkwood later made two free throws with 14 seconds to go, which rounded out the scoring.
The first half, meanwhile, was a back-and-forth affair, featuring seven lead changes and accurate shooting from both sides. Harvard was an impressive 57.1 percent from the floor, while the Dons connected on 46.2 percent of their attempts. For the game, Harvard, which went on a 20-4 second-half run that gave them the aforementioned 15-point lead, shot 56.7 percent from the floor and was 7-of-9 from the free throw line. USF finished at 47.6 percent from the field.
- Harvard has won 10 straight overtime games and won 20 of its last 21. Since the 2007-08 campaign, the Crimson is 21-4 in OT outings.
- Five players scored in double figures for Harvard and was led by Christian Juzang's season-high 17 points. The senior also added five assists. Others in double figures: Chris Lewis – 14, Chris Ledlum – 12, Rio Haskett – 11, Noah Kirkwood – 10.
- The Crimson bench was impressive, scoring 39 points. Ledlum and Haskett led the way in scoring, with Robert Baker and Danilo Djuricic each adding eight points.
- During its five-game winning streak, Harvard owns an average margin of victory of 12.6 points.
Harvard returns to action on Jan. 4, when it plays host to UC Irvine at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.