Lin Scores 24; Crimson Tops Patriot League Favorite Holy Cross, 87-77

Lin Scores 24; Crimson Tops Patriot League Favorite Holy Cross, 87-77

Jeremy Lin scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half Friday night as Harvard knocked off Patriot League-favorite Holy Cross, 87-77.      

WORCESTER, Mass. - For the second straight year, Harvard went into a hostile environment and came away with a victory as a young but poised Crimson team held off Patriot League-favorite Holy Cross 87-77 Friday night.

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Harvard played 11players and they all scored but Jeremy Lin and Dee Giger took over in the second half to lead a Crimson attack that saw five players reach double figures.  Giger connected on a trio of crippling long balls and Lin scored 21 of his game-high 24 points after the break while adding seven assists. Giger was 4-of-6 form distance in a 13-point showing.  

After a hectic back-and-forth first half saw Harvard take a 34-30 lead, a bucket by Andrew Keister at the 15:19 mark gave Holy Cross a 45-42 lead. Harvard's Oliver McNally connected on a second-chance triple to tie it and Lin used a no-look pass to Keith Wright underneath for a short-lived Harvard lead with 12:12 left. With the game tied, Lin took over, using a shot-fake and a driving, two-handed jam against a triple team to make it 51-49 Harvard at the 11:15 mark.

After consecutive HC misses, Giger connected on a pair of triples from opposite corners to give Harvard a 57-49 lead and force a HC timeout with 10:02 left. Coming out of the timeout, Holy Cross missed down low and Lin scooped up the ball streaking towards the Harvard basket. He stuffed a one-handed jam for a 10-point lead before Andrew Beinert stopped the run with a hoop.

Harvard immediately answered though, as Wright got a finger roll to go down and was fouled on the break opportunity as Harvard pushed the issue offensively. After a free throw, Harvard held a 62-51 lead with 8:48 left and was in the double bonus. Another HC miss meant more points at the stripe for Harvard as Lin connected twice for a 64-51 lead.

After a HC free throw, Lin drove and dished to Giger who stepped back and drilled another triple for a 67-62 lead. Devin Brown hit an unlikely, high-arching triple in front of Lin to make it a 10-point game, 69-59, with 5:30 left but Harvard went back to the line as McNally connected twice and Lin stuck a triple coming off a screen at the top of the arc to make it 74-61 at the 4:19 mark.   

Holy Cross was able to get the lead into single digits with 2:46 left but would not seriously threaten as Harvard shot well from the free throw line down the stretch.

Wright added 11 points and Kyle Casey had 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks in his debut. McNally added 11 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the free throw line. Keister had 22 points and eight boards to lead HC.

The teams hit on their first nine combined shots in a 10-8 lead for the Crusaders before Harvard missed. Harvard claimed its first lead, 11-10, on a triple from Andrew Van Nest at 13:52 mark and a triple from Giger on a fast break gave Harvard a 17-12 lead.

After a fast break feed from Lin to Doug Miller, Harvard's lead stood at 23-17 before Holy Cross went on a 13-2 run to take a 30-25 lead following a drive from Brown with under four minutes left.  

Layups from Lin and Wright started a 9-0 Harvard run that included a triple from Lin to end the first half with Harvard leading, 34-30.

Harvard opens its home season Sunday with a 2 p.m. game against William & Mary. The game will feature live video and audio on

Harvard used 11 players in the first six minutes of the game and 10 players scored first half points ... Kyle Casey, Andrew Van Nest and Christian Webster made their collegiate debuts at the 17:03 mark of the first half ... Brandyn Curry checked in just moments later at the 16:37 mark ... Dee Giger and Pat Magnarelli joined the court at the 13:46 mark for a rotation with four freshmen (Curry, Casey, Giger, Webster) and a player who had not played in 1.5 years due to injury (Magnarelli) ...  Lin took his first shot attempt at the 7:44 mark of the first half ... Lin scored his first points at the 2:40 mark on a drive in the lane ... Harvard shot 50 percent in the first half and 55 percent in the second ... The win was Tommy Amaker's 200th career coaching victory.