Men’s Basketball Streak Stopped at Vermont, 82-71

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
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BURLINGTON, Vt. – Harvard men's basketball dropped an 82-71 decision at Vermont Monday night, despite 16 points apiece from freshmen Chris Lewis and Bryce Aiken. The Crimson (6-5) also received double-figure outings from rookies Justin Bassey (11) and Seth Towns (10) at Patrick Gymnasium.

Senior Siyani Chambers added 10 points to mark the first time five Crimson players have posted double-figures this year. Chambers dished out a team-high four assists.

Vermont (10-5) was led by 21 points and six rebounds from Darren Payen, as well as 17 points from Kurt Steidl. Anthony Lamb added 14 points and four rebounds.

Both teams shot well from the floor, as Harvard finished 28-of-49 (57.1 percent), while Vermont hit 30-of-58 shots (51.7 percent). The Catamounts owned the edge on the glass, 34-21, especially offensively, 15-5. UVM also went to the free throw line 23 times to Harvard's 12.

Knotted at 6-6, the Catamounts rattled off seven-unanswered to push ahead 13-6 with five minutes gone. Justin Bassey stopped the run with a jumper from 15 feet out and the Crimson responded with 11 of the next 16 points to pull within one, 18-17, with 10:30 remaining in the half.

Five-straight points by Vermont gave the Catamounts a six-point cushion, but an Aiken triple started an 8-1 Crimson rally to pull ahead one, 25-24. The two teams stayed within five for the rest of the half, with the Catamounts taking a 36-33 advantage into the locker room.

The Crimson shot a hot 60.9 percent (14-of-23) for the half, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc. Aiken posted 14 points over the first 20 minutes, shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from the field.  

Starting the half on a 9-2 run, Harvard pushed ahead of UVM, 42-38 at the 16:35 mark. Vermont responded, scoring 17 of the next 19 points to take and 11-point lead, 55-44, with 11:53 to play. Towns ended the run with an old-fashioned 3-point play, narrowing the advantage to eight, 55-47.

Another hoop and the harm converted by Towns put the Crimson within five, 57-52, with 8:54 to play, but Vermont ripped off seven-straight and 11 of the next 14 to take its largest lead of the game, 68-55, with under six minutes remaining.  

Bassey sparked an 8-0 run with six points to pull the Crimson within five, 68-63, with 3:40 to play. The Catamounts would not relent, scoring six-straight and

The Crimson begins Ivy League play at Dartmouth Saturday, Jan. 7. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Game Notes: Bryce Aiken paced the team with 16 points, his seventh game with 10-plus points and sixth leading the team. Chris Lewis scored double-figures for the fourth-time this year and third over the last four games with 16 points. It marked the second time he has led the team in scoring. Seth Towns recorded double-digits for the seventh time this season with 10 points. Chambers posted 10-plus for the fourth time this year. Justin Bassey recorded double-figures for the first time since Fisher. The 60.9 percent shooting in the first half marked the best for the Crimson over the first 20 minutes since Dec. 2, 2015 at Northeastern (62.1). It marked the first time this year that five Crimson players have posted double-digits.