Late Effort Not Enough as Men's Basketball Falls to Wofford, 63-62

New Sheriff in Towns
Seth Towns lead the way for the Crimson on Wednesday, tallying a game-high 20 points.

With less than a minute left on the clock sophomore forward Seth Towns ended a scoring drought that had lasted the entire half with a layup. After leading Harvard with 16 of its 28 first half points, the sophomore hadn’t made a field goal since before intermission.

The layup gave Harvard its first tie since the break—knotting the Crimson and host Wofford at 62 with 55 ticks to play. The guests had trailed by as many as nine in the half.

The late game heroics would fall just short, however, as Harvard (6-10, 1-0 Ivy) would give the Terriers (11-5, 1-1 SoCon) back-to-back offensive rebounds on their final possession before Towns would foul and send senior guard Derrick Brooks to the line for two.

Brooks would miss the first but make the second to give the Crimson a chance at the buzzer. With seven seconds left on the clock, Towns ran the length of the floor and managed to get off a left-handed shot, but the ball wouldn’t find the bottom of the net as Harvard fell, 63-62.

“It was a tremendous game,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “I thought both teams competed really hard and I was really proud of our kids for fighting and clawing against a very good team and program.”

Despite the second half struggles, Towns finished with a game-high 20 points to go with four rebounds and four assists.

Though the Crimson trailed for the entirety of the second half, the second-ever iteration of the bow tie and button-down affair between the two programs began as a back-and-forth effort from both teams.

Sophomore Christian Juzang got the start in place of the injured Bryce Aiken—Harvard’s leading scorer—and the Crimson took the early lead off a jumper from Juzang and a three from Towns. Much like they would the rest of the night, the Terriers responded from deep.

After the five points from Harvard to start the game, Wofford would go on a 16-5 run to take a 16-10 lead with 13:26 to go in the first. Of the first 16 points for the hosts, all but four would come from beyond the arc. All told, the Terriers would shoot a blistering 58 percent from three through the first twenty minutes.

Coming off a game against the Big Green in which the Crimson appeared to have finally found its rhythm from deep, Harvard struggled from three—much like it has all season.

The Crimson shot an abysmal 2-of-14 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished the game shooting 19 percent from three. The Terriers, for their part, thrived from three-point land—shooting 42 percent from deep, a mark better than their overall field goal percentage.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot the ball very well from the three point line, which really hurt us, but I thought we gave great effort, great energy, and had a shot to win it at the end with Seth Towns, and the ball in his hands,” Amaker said. “Couldn’t ask for much more than that.”

Despite the onslaught from the perimeter, the Crimson kept up early with timely baskets inside and second chance opportunities. After the early run from Wofford, the Crimson steered clear of a zone defense that was being picked apart from the Terriers, and decided to move the ball inside on the other end.

The Crimson would go on to outscore Wofford 30-10 in the paint on the game while keeping the Terriers in check on defense and on the offensive glass. To Harvard’s dismay, two of Wofford’s six offensive rebounds on the game would come on their game-winning possession, but the Crimson managed to tally 11 offensive boards for 12 points on the evening.

For the Terriers, junior guard Fletcher Magee tallied a team-high 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists on 5-of-18 shooting.

“Holding this team to 63 points, that’s a tremendous defensive effort,” Amaker said. “We didn’t play as well late, by putting them on the foul line, but I thought we gave great effort and energy and defended the kid, Fletcher Magee, who’s a tremendous shooting scorer and I thought we did a tremendous job on him throughout, couldn’t ask for much more.”

—Staff writer Troy Boccelli can be reached at troy.boccelli@thecrimson.com.

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