But, for the first time since the 2014-2015 season, Amaker won’t have the significant hurdle next season of working with a core of brand new players. The Crimson currently has three recruits set to join the squad in 2017, but it returns 73 percent of its points and 87 percent of its minutes from this season.
Despite the quirks and potential adjustments, both Tommy Amaker, coach of the Harvard men’s basketball team, and Kathy Delaney-Smith, coach of the Harvard women’s basketball team, are glad the tournament finally became a reality this year.
Harvard. Yale. The Palestra. Coach Tommy Amaker has been there before--playing a do-or-die game against the Bulldogs in a playoff scenario. Though this year represents the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, the Crimson’s first round matchup mimics a 2015 playoff scenario where Harvard and the Elis played a one-game playoff in order to determine who would take the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The four veterans—co-captains Siyani Chambers and Corbin Miller, along with forward Zena Edosomwan and guard Matt Fraschilla—took the floor at tip-off and gave Harvard a lead it would never relinquish.
In front of 2,195 fans donning Crimson and waving Zena Edosomwan fat heads, Harvard defeated Yale, 77-64. The home team was led by freshmen guard Bryce Aiken and Seth Towns, who had 22 and 18 points, respectively.
While many have alluded to a seeming inevitability that Princeton will run away with the regular season title, currently undefeated in Ancient Eight play, Harvard is two games back and has four games remaining on the schedule—including one against the Tigers—to raise the Ivy banner.
Harvard is coming off of a weekend sweep of Brown and Yale on the road last week, with freshman guard Bryce Aiken leading the way with 50 points over the weekend. Columbia, on the other hand has won one of its last four.
The last time the Harvard men’s basketball team played Cornell and Columbia, both New York teams had the Crimson on its heels. In the two weekends since Harvard traveled to Ithaca and New York City, the Crimson is 3-1, but most importantly has started to play more consistent basketball.