Houston, Texas – Outscoring the Cougars 14-4 over the final six minutes, Harvard men's basketball (5-4) grinded out a 57-56 win over Houston (9-3) Friday evening at Hofheinz Pavilion. The Crimson was led by a game-high 21 points by freshman Bryce Aiken, including 13 in the second half and eight over the final 6:21.
The victory marked the fourth-straight for the Crimson. It marked the first home loss for the Cougars.
Freshman Chris Lewis and senior Zena Edosomwan each posted eight points, while Edosomwan paced the Crimson on the boards with six. Senior co-captain Siyani Chambers dished out six assists, adding five points and five rebounds.
Houston was paced by 15 points by Rob Gray, while Damyean Dotson posted seven points and seven boards.
Within three, 39-36, with 14:33 to play in the second half, the Cougars rattled off six-straight points to pull ahead by nine, 45-36. Houston was able to hold its advantage over the next eight minutes, staying ahead by no less than six points.
Dotson hit a triple to put the Cougars ahead 52-43 at the 6:35 mark. Aiken started the 14-4 spurt with a 3-pointer from the wing. After exchanging baskets, Aiken pulled the Crimson within one with two more treys, making the score 54-53 with 4:27 to play. Two minutes later, a Gray jumper seemed to give Houston the edge, but Chambers immediately found freshman Justin Bassey under the basket. Aiken found Edosomwan for a tip-in with 1:12 remaining, giving the Crimson the one-point advantage. A defensive stop secured the Harvard win.
Trailing 11-8 to start the game, the Crimson posted seven unanswered, capped by a Chambers triple on the wing, to pull ahead, 15-11, at the 14:20 mark. The Cougars responded with two-straight baskets, but the Crimson came right back, rattling off eight points to pull ahead 23-16 six minutes later.
Harvard went cold over the final eight minutes, hitting just 2-of-13 and allowing Houston to register a 18-7 spurt. Freshman Henry Welsh hit a lay-up as the buzzer sounded to make the score 34-30 at the break.
Harvard returns to Lavietes Friday, Dec. 30 to take on Howard on the Ivy League Digital Network before embarking on a two-game road swing at Vermont and Dartmouth.
Game Notes: Bryce Aiken paced the team with 21 points, his fifth game with 10-plus points and fourth leading the team. Siyani Chambers paced Harvard in assists for the eighth time this year. Zena Edosomwan led the Crimson in rebounds for the seventh time in 2016-17.