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Harvard Outlasts Dartmouth, 62-58, Behind Casey, Lin and Wright

Pictured: Kyle Casey had 19 points and 10 rebounds Saturday at Dartmouth (M. Langdon)

HANOVER, N.H.– Harvard men’s basketball overcame a dismal start to Saturday’s game at Dartmouth as the Crimson survived by erasing an 11-point deficit in defeating the Big Green at Leede Arena by a score of 62-58.

Harvard improves to 13-3 on the season (2-0 Ivy) while Dartmouth dips below the .500 mark at home (4-5) and stands at 4-12 overall and 0-2 in the league. While not pretty, the win was Harvard’s sixth straight, matching the program’s best stretch of victories in 13 years as the Crimson showed growth by overcoming one of its most inconsistent games of the year.

The game was played at Dartmouth’s pace and it marked just the third time this season the Crimson had been held under 70 points.

Jeremy Lin had 19 points and six assists while Kyle Casey also had 19 points (6-7 FG) to go with 10 rebounds. Keith Wright added 13 points in a strong showing on 6-of-9 shooting.

Harvard turned the ball over just 10 times in the game and outrebounded DC, 44-35.

Harvard is back in action next weekend in a pivotal Ivy road series. The Crimson travels to Columbia on Friday night to match up with the nation’s top 3-point shooting team in the Lions. On Saturday the Crimson travels to Cornell who was the unanimous favorite to win the Ancient Eight this season and has only heightened expectations for itself after a 16-3 start to the year.

After an early basket, the rust from Harvard’s 13-day layoff was evident as the Crimson started 1-for-11 with four turnovers as the Big Green scored 13-straight points at the 12:15 mark before.

Harvard crept within one possession of the Big Green with 6:02 left in the first half as Lin got on the board with a traditional 3-point play to make it 20-17. After a nice feed underneath for DC, Lin connected from well beyond the arc to make it 22-20.

Wright factored in the next six points starting with a precision move inside as the sophomore changed hands on a double clutch layup and then stole a ball at midcourt. He fed a streaking Brandyn Curry to convert a layup for a 24-22 lead at the 3:09 mark. Wright then pulled down a lob pass in traffic and converted another nifty layup before Christian Webster added another tough bank shot in traffic for a 28-22 margin. After DC scored five straight, Lin wound down the clock and drew plenty of attention before kicking out to Casey in the corner with the freshman draining a triple at the buzzer for a 31-27 lead.

Harvard used three mini spurts of 6, 7 and 8-0 runs in the opening half to take the lead.

A close second half saw Dartmouth take a brief lead as the teams stayed with one possession of each other until the 10:50 mark when Casey delivered a monster alley-oop dunk and Lin streaked past a double team for a layup and a 42-36 lead.

Two minutes later, a mid-range jumper from Casey and four straight from Lin – including a driving left-handed layup and a double clutch floater made it 48-37 with 7:32 left. After the media timeout, Wright went back to work with a baby hook inside as the Crimson mounted a 24-point turnaround from its first half woes.

Dartmouth got within 57-51 on a step-back jumper from Jabaari Trotter with 43 seconds left and then 61-58 on a long triple from Trotter but Harvard was in the double bonus and was able to run out the clock despite missing seven free throws down the stretch.

NOTES: Jeremy Lin recorded his 200th career steal in the first half, becoming one of just three Harvard players in the 200club … Lin moved into the school’s top 10 in scoring as well with 1,281 points, passing Keith Sedlack ’66 … Harvard’s last six-game win streak came back in 1996-97.