Harvard held serve at home, edging Princeton and then Penn in tight games to avenge losses at the stadiums of the southernmost Ancient Eight schools and improve to 7-3 in league play, two games ahead of the fifth-best Quakers. Here are some takeaways from a crucial home sweep.
Both senior forward Chris Lewis and sophomore guard Noah Kirkwood notched 19 points, but this 69-65 victory was largely a complete team effort.
“I just want you to know that we don't win this game tonight at all without Mason Forbes,” coach Tommy Amaker said.
Five teams in the Ivy League are 5-3 or better. All five have reasonable hopes of challenging not only for a spot in the tournament but for at least a share of an Ancient Eight championship. Drama should abound these last three weeks, starting in Cambridge this weekend, where Harvard will welcome Penn and Princeton.
Harvard again entered a home matchup against one-win Columbia as a substantial favorite. But as was the case in both meetings last year, this was the furthest thing from a walk in the park for Harvard, which edged past the Lions 77-73 in double overtime.
“I was really pleased with the start we had and how we were able to play defensively with great discipline,” Amaker said. “That was the key against this team and its style we’ll have to do it again tomorrow night.”
Amir Mamdani takes a look at every game in the Ivy League this weekend as the Crimson will return home and look to make up ground in the standings.
The free throw seemed like a formality, the next blow in what felt destined to become a crushing Harvard loss. But the Crimson’s streak of heartbreaking defeats would not reach three, as Azar Swain’s would-be game-tying free throw clanged off the front rim and out, allowing Harvard to escape Payne Whitney Gymnasium with a 78-77 victory on Friday evening.