Pictured: Kyle Casey had 15 points (11-13 FT) and five rebounds as Harvard controlled George Washington in the second half in a 66-53 game. (Steve Slade).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - After trailing by nine points early on, Harvard put the clamps on George Washington with a dominating second half defensive effort as the Crimson defeated the Colonials, 66-53, at Lavietes Pavilion.
Harvard held GW to five points in the first 13:33 of the second half, enabling the Crimson to build a 16-point lead at one time. The Crimson improves to 9-3 on the season and is 6-0 at home. George Washington, hailing from the fourth-ranked conference (Atlantic-10) nationally this season, sees its records dip to 9-3 with its first road loss (5-1).
Jeremy Lin turned in another star effort against an exceptionally athletic GW squad. The senior lifted Harvard in the first half with 14 points and five steals en route to a crowded box score of 17 points, eight rebounds, seven steals, five assists and two blocks. The seven thefts sets a new career-high, surpassing last season's six in a win at against Boston College.
Harvard also received a career-high 15 points from freshman Kyle Casey (11-13 FT), who also added five rebounds. GW scored just 18 second half points on 6-for-24 shooting (.250) while being outrebounded in the half, 22-11.
Harvard turned the ball over on four of its first six possessions as GW pulled out to an 11-2 lead. Harvard got within 15-13, nine minutes into the fast-paced game and then within one, 21-20, on a triple from Lin with 5:54 left.
Casey tied the game moments later on a free throw only to see GW score the next four. Seconds before the under-four minute timeout, an intentional foul on Hermann Opoku sent Lin to the line and the senior converted two to tie it up at 25. Harvard got the ball back and Casey went to the line to give the Crimson its first lead of the game with 3:45 left in the half. The teams traded leads down the stretch with Lin making it 35-32 in favor of Harvard with 55 seconds left after two free throws, his fifth steal off the half and a dunk.
Travis King hit a long triple with the shot clock winding down to tie things but Lin drained a bomb from deep range at the buzzer for a 38-35 Harvard lead. The shot marked Lin's fifth buzzer-beating shot this season.
In the second half, Harvard grabbed a 41-35 lead on a beautiful no-look feed from Lin to Doug Miller. Casey converted two at the line for a 43-35 lead as GW was held scoreless for the first 4:40 of the half while committing five fouls. Two more Lin assists gave Harvard a 48-37 lead at 12:25 when Brandyn Curry stuck a triple from the corner.
A goaltending call upped the margin to 50-37 with 10:41 left as GW still had just two points in the half before Damien Hollis hit a tough over-and-under layup at the 10:18 mark. Another goaltending made it 54-40 at 8:18 before Lin came up with his sixth steal of the contest.
GW stayed around and got within nine, 56-47, with 5:14 remaining after a 3-point play from Hollis but Harvard answered and a personal five-point spurt from Casey with 2:58 left gave the home side an insurmountable 63-47 margin.
Hollis led GW with 11 points while Tony Taylor had 10.
Harvard returns to action Saturday evening with a 5:10 (EST) game at Seattle University in a contest being played at Key Arena. The game will be rebroadcast on Fox Sports Northwest at 12:15 a.m. on Sunday. Following its trip to Seattle, Harvard plays at Santa Clara Jan. 4.