Housman Dominant as Career Draws to a Close

HOUS' PARTY
Weston B. Howe

Senior guard Drew Housman took control this weekend, scoring 30 total points and leading the Crimson to victory in its final home games.

As the Ivy League entered the crunch part of its schedule, few players have stepped up and delivered like Drew Housman.

The senior point guard and four-year starter for the Harvard men’s basketball team has been one of the best players in the league over the past couple weekends and his play could not have come at a better time for the Crimson.

Housman scored in double figures in each of Harvard’s last six games, during which it has gone an impressive 3-3, including thrilling last minute wins at Penn and against league-leader Cornell.

It has been those two marquee wins that the Calabasas, Calif. native has been most on top of his game. He torched the Quakers for a game-high 22 points and dished out five assists—the last of which found junior guard Jeremy Lin for the game-winning three pointer. A week later, he dropped 20 points against the Big Red in a one-point win. This came one night after a 10-point and career-high six steal performance in a victory over Columbia.

“Drew is an amazing player,” captain guard Andrew Pusar said. “He’s been great for four years and he is such a fantastic all-around player. He leads our team, anchors our defense, and is the catalyst for our offense. We trust him and we know with the ball in his hands, we will be in great shape.”

The Ivy League has recognized his strong performances. In the past three weeks, he was named to the league’s weekly honor roll twice before being chosen as Ivy League Player of the Week for the most recent set of games.

This has been quite a turnaround from earlier in the season. In his first three years, Housman averaged nearly 32 minutes per game, but for most of the beginning of this season, he saw his playing time cut. In a double overtime loss to Northeastern at home in December, he did play a season-high 37 minutes and hit two threes in the final minute of regulation to tie the score. But in the upset Boston College in January, he played just 14 minutes and in the first three Ivy League games, he played only 37 combined minutes while contributing a total of 11 points.

That all seems like ancient history now as Ancient Eight play has rolled on; Housman has played at least 30 minutes in the past seven games and has rarely stepped off the court in the second half of matches.

After averaging double figures in scoring for each of his first three seasons, his numbers are down to 9.3 points per game so far. But with two games left, he can reach a double-digit average with a minimum of 39 points overall. A high-scoring weekend would also push him up the program’s career scoring list, where he currently sits tied for 13th place with former two-time captain Dale Dover ’71 with 1201 points, having recently passed former teammates Matt Stehle ’06 and Jim Goffredo ’07.

On the other end of the court, his defense has been superb recently too, especially last weekend. Against Cornell, he clearly got the better of reigning league Player of the Year Louis Dale. Housman led an excellent harassing effort all night to keep the clamps on the explosive guard in one of the biggest wins in his time at Harvard in his final home game—a fitting end to his time at Lavietes Pavilion.

“It was nice to get a win against a team that’s going to the NCAA Tournament,” Housman said. “Especially on Senior Night when we had a good crowd with lots of family and friends and some people flew out a long way to see us.”

After three seasons of posting more turnovers than assists, he has an excellent ratio this season of 70 assists against 37 turnovers. And with the win over the Big Red, the Crimson picked up its fifth league win of the season and reached the .500 mark overall.

With victories at Brown or Yale, Harvard will have its first winning season since 2001-02, and also be at .500 in Ivy play for the first time since 2004-05—the year before Housman arrived. If he keeps up his excellent play of late, the team must like its chances.

“Drew has been sensational for us for the last three weeks or so,” Crimson coach Tommy Amaker said. “There has been a real purpose to how he has played. Sometimes you see that with seniors, they’re on a mission to finish strong and finish right. He’s leaving his mark on this program and wants to go out in a blaze of glory.”

—Staff writer Ted Kirby can be reached at tjkirby@fas.harvard.edu.

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