Men's Basketball Defeats Auburn 69-51, Advances to Diamond Head Classic Final

Johnson has made eight 3-pointers to help the Crimson to the Diamond Head Classic championship game (Jay Metzger).

HONOLULU, Hawaii – Five Crimson scored in double-figures as the Harvard men's basketball team defeated Auburn Wednesday afternoon, 69-51, to advance to the championship game of the 2015 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

Harvard will face the winner of No. 3/2 Oklahoma and Hawaii in the tournament final on Friday, Dec. 25 at 8:30 p.m. EST live on ESPN2. The Sooners and Bows tip off at 9 p.m. EST on ESPNU.

Corey Johnson scored a team-high 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3. Evan Cummins turned in a career-high 13 points and was 5-of-6 from the floor to go with five rebounds and five assists. Zena Edosomwan also scored 13 points with six rebounds and three assists.

Agunwa Okolie added 11 points and six rebounds with Patrick Steeves contributing 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Harvard (5-6) finished the day shooting 47.2 percent (25-53) from the floor and dished out 15 assists on 25 made baskets.

The Crimson's defense was also on display, holding Auburn (6-4) to season-lows in points (51), field goal percentage (30.2) and 3-point percentage (24.0).

Harvard was aggressive in the paint early, scoring each of its first four baskets down low for an 8-4 lead. Johnson hit from 3 to move the score to 11-4, and following Johnson's second triple the lead had reached 17-4.

Edosomwan powered his way to the basket for a bucket then found Cummins for an easy lay-in as Harvard's lead increased to 25-12. The Crimson took its largest margin to that point on a Corbin Miller 3-pointer, 28-12, but six quick points from Auburn pulled the Tigers within 28-18. Harvard answered quickly, however, regaining a 33-20 spread off a pair of Cummins free throws and a Steeves 3.  Miller added a second 3-pointer and after Okolie's putback the Crimson led 40-29 at the break.

Cummins turned in 11 points, four rebounds and three assists in the half as the Crimson shot 57.1 percent (16-28) from the field, including 5-of-9 from distance.

Auburn made it a 45-37 game out of the break when Kareem Canty connected with Cinmeon Bowers for an alley-opp, forcing a Harvard timeout. Harvard took off from there, pushing the margin to 20 points, 59-39, with a 14-2 run that included six points and an assist from Steeves and five points from Okolie. Steeves' contributions came on four straight possessions, beginning with his second 3-pointer and concluding with a hook shot in the paint.

The Tigers used an 8-0 stretch to pull back within 59-47, and after Bryce Brown's triple the score stood at 62-50 with 5:16 to play. Following a pair of free throws, Edosomwan found Johnson to beat Auburn's press and move the score back to 66-50. Harvard held on the rest of the way, advancing to the finals by the final score of 69-51.

Game Notes: Harvard improved to 8-0 all-time in in-season tournament games under Tommy Amaker … Harvard's win was the program's 14th over a power conference opponent under Tommy Amaker … Harvard's defense held Auburn to season-lows in points (51), field goal percentage (30.2) and 3-point percentage (24.0) … Harvard has held seven opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting and four opponents to under 60 points … Harvard has dished out at least 15 assists seven times this season, including each of the last five games … Harvard had five student-athletes scores in double-figures for the first time since Jan. 30, 2015 at Princeton … Evan Cummins scored a career-high 13 points and matched his career-high with five assists … Harvard has made at least five 3-pointers in each game this season … Corbin Miller has made at least one 3-pointer in 14-straight games dating back to last season … Corey Johnson has made at least one 3-pointer in 11 straight games to begin his career.