"I watch a lot of James Harden." Seth Towns said.
A late offensive spurt from sophomore forwards Seth Towns and Chris Lewis closed out a foul-heavy Friday night as the Harvard men’s basketball team edged Brown, 65-58, at Lavietes Pavilion.
Sophomore guard Christian Juzang’s four triples and a late free throw were enough to propel him to a career-high of 21 points, one point greater than his previous best, set last Friday against Princeton.
Similar to the last time that the Crimson (13-11, 8-1 Ivy League) faced off against the Bears (11-11, 4-5), Harvard coach Tommy Amaker was forced to divert from the team’s typical inside-out gameplan. Lewis tallied his third foul within the first two minutes of the second half, and picked up his fourth with more than 12 minutes still to play. The team’s primary interior presence was able to log just 20 minutes of game action on Friday, five more than his 15-minute outing on Jan. 27 against Brown.
“[Lewis] is our post guy, he’s our post presence and when he’s not on the floor, when he’s not playing well, it really hurts our team,” Amaker said. “When we didn’t have him, we needed to be more efficient running our offense. I think Juzang has a really good stat line, but disappointing that he only has one assist. He’s got to be a guy that runs our offense and makes other people better.”
Despite this dearth of playing time, Lewis capitalized when it most counted. After Bears junior wing Obi Okolie tied the game at 51 with a tip-in off of a missed three, Amaker called a timeout with 4:19 remaining.
After not having many post-up opportunities up to that point, Lewis began attacking the interior with a renewed energy. The Alpharetta, Ga., native flushed home an easy layup, drew a shooting foul two possessions later, and then forced a charge from Brown sophomore forward Joshua Howard on the defensive end to preserve a five-point margin.
Towns was also critical in sealing the Harvard victory late in the contest. The game’s leading scorer displayed a full range of hesitation and crossover moves, one late in the first half that brought his defender—sophomore guard Zach Hunsinger— to his knees.
“I watch a lot of James Harden,” Towns said. “I mean if I see space on the court and they’re not helping as much, then that’s my go. I know my teammates trust me to create a shot for us. That’s one of my roles...to create plays for the team and for myself.”
In the game’s final minutes, the Columbus, Ohio native knocked down a wide-open three to help his team keep a five-point lead at the 3:18 mark before accelerating past his defender for an easy lefty layup one minute later. That finish iced the game at 60-53, and accurate free throw shooting late in the contest—despite an abnormal 65 percent night at the charity stripe—helped lead the Crimson to its eighth conference win.
The Bears fared even worse at the line, converting 53.3 percent of their free throws. In addition, a challenging night from the field for Brown guards Desmond Cambridge and guard Brandon Anderson—who combined for an 11-for-35 shooting night —resulted in the Bears’ lowest point total this season at 58.
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