PROVIDENCE, R.I.—It was a career night for sophomore forward Seth Towns on Saturday at Brown.
In what became a back-and-forth effort between the Crimson and the Bears, the Columbus, Ohio native finished the night with a career-high 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and a perfect four-of-four from deep to give Harvard the 86-77 win on the road.
“Just my teammates getting me in the right positions, and hitting shots like I didn’t do last night,” Towns said. “The way my teammates spread the floor and how everybody was a threat today kind of opened the floor for me. It’s easier when you’ve got good teammates.”
Despite the offensive outpouring from Towns, Brown (9-8, 2-2 Ivy League) closed in on a Crimson (9-10, 4-0) lead late in the second half. After Harvard went up 15 following a three from sophomore guard Bryce Aiken with 13:46 to go, Brown went on a late run of its own.
It began with a pair of free throws from junior guard Obi Okolie at the 13:12 mark.
From there, freshman guard Desmond Cambridge would nail threes on back-to-back-to-back possessions—all told, the Bears would score 11 in a span of less than two minutes to pull within five. In the same stretch, the Crimson failed to hit a field goal with its only point coming at the free throw line.
“He’s a hard cover, he’s so athletic and quick,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said of Cambridge. “He can really shoot the ball. He made some big ones to keep them alive and I think he’s got a really bright future in this league.”
Cambridge finished the night with a team-high 22 points, four rebounds, and two assists.
While Cambidge’s outpouring pulled the Brown within five with just over 11 minutes to go, it would be as close as Brown would get for the rest of the night—following the freshman’s three at the 11:35 mark, junior guard Corey Johnson came right back and drained a three of his own to make it a three-possession game.
Brown would pull within five again at the 8:09 mark, but with both teams in the bonus, Harvard found itself at the charity stripe for much of the rest of the game to close it out.
After sitting out for much of the past month and playing only sparingly at Dartmouth and Yale last night due to injury, Aiken came up big for the Crimson off the bench. The sophomore played 20 minutes, finishing with 18 points and three rebounds. The reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year found himself at the line throughout the night, finishing with 11-of-12 shooting from the free throw line.
“Getting to the line for him, 12 times, is always a key and he’s been a big piece to our ability to get to the free throw line which we have lacked since he’s been out,” Amaker said. “Bryce and Seth being two of our best players and best scorers especially with Chris Lewis being in foul trouble majority of the game.”
The career night from Towns came just in time, as Brown clawed back into the game following a first half offensive outpouring from the Crimson that occurred for the second night in a row. Much like it did on Friday, Harvard got going early, starting the game up 13-0 behind a perfect five-of-five shooting from the field.
Despite the lead, and much like it did against Yale on Friday, the Crimson defense gave way to the Bears’ offense late in the first, as Brown would enter the intermission trailing by just four.
“We just haven’t been good when we have had leads,” Amaker said. “Obviously you give the opponents a lot of credit for fighting through and coming back, but we haven’t been able to sustain and that’s a concern of ours right now that we have had great stretches and started off really well here tonight and last tonight.”
The win gives the Crimson its 17th consecutive win against the Bears and keeps Harvard undefeated in conference. Brown has not beaten the Crimson since March 6, 2009.
“It wasn’t easy, we had cushions there, big leads there, couldn’t hold it, certainly had to make a variety of different kinds of plays to win this game tonight against a team that put everything on the line against us.”
—Staff writer Troy Boccelli can be reached at email@example.com.
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