Senior guard Siyani Chambers (center) scored a team-high 17 points against Princeton on Saturday night (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In front of a sold-out crowd at Lavietes Pavilion, the Harvard men's basketball team rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half before falling, 57-56, in the closing seconds to Princeton in Ivy League action Saturday night.
The Crimson (12-7, 4-2 Ivy) took the lead over with just over two minutes left in the contest, but a late comeback from the Tigers (12-6, 5-0 Ivy) was capped off with an offensive rebound and put-back from senior Steven Cook with two seconds left to seal the one-point victory for the visitors.
Princeton was led by 19 points and nine rebounds by Cook. Myles Stephens and Spencer Weisz added 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Harvard jumped out to a 10-4 lead over the Tigers, using triples from Aiken and Justin Bassey to take the early advantage.
Princeton responded with a 10-4 run of its own to knot the contest at 14-14 just over halfway through the first half. Weisz knocked down three treys during the stretch for Princeton.
Chambers gave the Crimson the lead back with a pull-up three from the ring wing, just before Weisz hit another three to tie the contest at 17-17. Weisz led all scorers in the first half with 12, while Chambers led Harvard with seven.
After a Chambers lay-up made it 19-19 with just over four minutes to play in the half, Princeton hit back-to-back triples to take a six-point lead.
Freshman Seth Towns answered with a three of his own, but a 5-2 run to end the half gave Princeton a 30-24 advantage at the end of the first half.
Princeton kept its momentum going to begin the second half, scoring seven unanswered during the first two minutes to extend their lead to 13 (37-24).
Harvard's defense picked up after the Princeton run, and the Crimson gave up just three points over the next five minutes to allow itself back in the game.
Harvard quickly went on a 5-0 spurt with just over 11 minutes left in the second half to cut within six (40-34). The run was highlighted by a thunderous dunk from Lewis and a two-handed slam from freshman Robert Baker that brought the frenzied crowd to its feet.
Princeton managed to extend the lead back to 43-34, but the second three of the half from sophomore Corey Johnson and four-straight points from Chambers helped the Crimson get within two (43-41).
After another triple from Princeton, Chambers drove strong to the hoop and finished at the rim to make it a one-possession game (46-43) with 5:45 to play.
Harvard continued to battle back as it tied the game at 49-49 after a pair of free throws from Chambers with 2:32 to go. The Crimson then took its first lead since the 8:46 mark of the opening half after Aiken knocked down a three from the top of the key.
Senior Zena Edosomwan gave Harvard a four-point cushion (54-50) after a tough layup inside, but Weisz split a pair of free throws to pull within three with just over a minute to play.
Princeton went on to cut the Harvard lead to one (54-53) on a layup from junior Amir Bell with 16.7 seconds left, but Aiken calmly sank two free throws to make it a three-point game once again.
Sophomore Myles Stephens came up clutch late for Princeton, driving in for a layup and the foul to set up the late heroics from Cook with 6.3 seconds left. Stephens missed the free throw, but Cook managed to control a loose ball under the rim and lay it in to give the Tigers the late advantage.
After a Crimson timeout, a deep inbounds to Edosomwan allowed him to find Johnson on the right wing for a clean look at a three, but it rimmed out and Princeton held on for the one-point win.
For the full, archived game on the Ivy League Digital Network, click here.
Harvard hits the road next weekend for Brown and Yale.
Game Notes: For the 11th time this season, Bryce Aiken scored double-digits. Chambers posted 10-plus for the ninth time this year and 67th overall. Chris Lewis posted double-figures for the seventh time this season. This marks the fourth-straight game the Crimson has come back from a double-digit deficit, winning two games and coming within three of less in two games.