Men’s Basketball Drops Heartbreaker at Princeton, 70-69

Christian Juzang action shot
Photo Courtesy: Hunter Martin.
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PRINCETON, N.J. – The Harvard men's basketball team dropped an Ivy League road game at Princeton in heartbreaking fashion, 70-69, Saturday night inside Jadwin Gymnasium. The decision sent Harvard's record to 13-6 on the season and leveled its conference record at 2-2.

The Crimson spent nearly all game climbing an uphill battle and successfully got over the hump late in the contest when Noah Kirkwood made two free throws with 15.2 seconds left, giving the visitors a 69-68 lead.

On Princeton's trip down the floor, Harvard blocked a pair of shots at the rim, but could not collect either rebound. A third Crimson attempt at a rejection was whistled for a foul, sending Richmond Aririguzoh to the charity stripe where he converted both free throws, pushing the Tigers ahead, 70-69, with 3.9 seconds left.

Harvard inbounded the ball to Danilo Djuricic, who pushed the ball up the floor to Christian Juzang. The senior looked to win the game with a three, but his shot was off the mark, sealing the Crimson's fate.

The game started in a similar fashion to the night before at Penn, with Harvard starting the game slowly. Although it did not trail by double digits early, the Crimson found itself in a 16-point hole as a result of a 16-2 Tigers run with just under nine minutes left in the first half.

Harvard, however, gathered itself and ended the period on a 14-2 run, covering 8:24, all while holding Princeton (9-8; 4-0 Ivy) scoreless for the final 2:28. At halftime, the Crimson trailed, 33-29.

Out of the break, Harvard allowed a Tigers layup, but responded with seven unanswered points to take a 36-35 lead (18:04), its first since early moments of the contest. Less than two minutes later, Princeton made a trey, leading to an 11-0 run, which include a trio of three-pointers, to help the Tigers to a 48-38 lead. Harvard eventually fought its way back into the game, thanks to a series of paint points from Chris Lewis and Justin Bassey, and jumpers by Juzang and Noah Kirkwood, all of which set up the eventful final 15 seconds.

Harvard Notes
Noah Kirkwood finished with a season- and game-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting (3-4 3FG).
Chris Lewis reached the double-figure scoring plateau for the ninth straight game, totaling 12 points, while connecting on half of his 12 attempts from the floor. The senior also added three blocked shots for the second game in a row.
Christian Juzang was Harvard's third double-digit scorer with 10 points. He also added five rebounds and three assists, while committing zero turnovers.
Justin Bassey filled the stat sheet with six points, all in the second half, a game-high-tying eight rebounds (Danilo Djuricic) and a game-high four assists. 

Up Next
Harvard returns to action on Friday when it plays at Yale. Game time is set for 5 p.m., with the contest airing on ESPNU.