Men’s Basketball Heads to Cornell, Columbia

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
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Game Info

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Series Record
Last Meeting
Game Notes

Harvard vs. Cornell
Friday, Jan. 27
6 p.m. 
Newman Arena  
Ivy League Digital Network
Live Stats
Harvard (10-5, 2-0 Ivy)
Cornell (5-12, 1-1 Ivy)
Cornell leads, 92-78 
W, 76-74 (Feb. 20, 2016)
Harvard vs. Cornell (PDF)

Game Info

Live Stats

Series Record
Last Meeting
Game Notes

Harvard vs. Columbia
Saturday, Jan. 28
7 p.m. 
Levien Gymnasium
Ivy League Digital Network
Live Stats
Harvard (10-5, 2-0 Ivy)
Columbia (7-8, 1-1 Ivy)
Columbia leads, 96-80 
L, 90-76 (Feb. 19, 2016)
Harvard vs. Columbia (PDF)

The Storyline
Harvard men's basketball hits the road, heading to New York to face Cornell and Columbia this weekend. The Crimson and Big Red square off Friday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m., while Harvard meets Columbia Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. Both games are set to be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.

What to Watch For
• For the first time since 1987-88, a freshman leads the Crimson in scoring, as Bryce Aiken posts 13.3 points per game. That year, Ralph James was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year after posting 14.5 points per game.

• After losing four of its first five contests, Harvard posted a perfect record in December and has rattled off nine wins over the last 10 games. The Crimson last tallied an unblemished record in the month of December in 2013, winning four games.

• The all-time winningest head coach in Harvard men's basketball history, Tommy Amaker returns to the Harvard sidelines for the 10th season. The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball has directed the Crimson to a period of unprecedented prosperity in the form of four NCAA tournament appearances (2012-15), five Ivy League championships (2011-15) and six 20-win seasons (2010-15). Amaker owns a 361-239 career record: 185-100 at Harvard, 108-84 at Michigan and 68-55 at Seton Hall. Amaker is looking to tie and/or pass Jack McCloskey, Penn 1956-66, with his 87th and 88th Ivy win this weekend.

• Harvard contains a mix of youth and experience for the 2016-17 season. Thirteen (13) of the 20-man roster are freshmen or sophomores. Three of the top four leading scorers are rookies, as Bryce Aiken and Seth Towns rank 1-2 with 13.3 and 11.7 points per game, respectively. According to KenPom rankings, the Crimson is the 10th youngest team in the NCAA.

• The Crimson looks to return to the top of the Ivy League standings after five conference titles over the last six years.

• Rookies pace the squad in scoring (Bryce Aiken, 13.3), field goal percentage (Chris Lewis, 64.5), free throw percentage (Aiken, 90.0) and blocks per game (Lewis, 1.6)

• Harvard holds an 8-0 record when holding an advantage going into the locker room. 

Last Time Out
In front of a sell-out crowd of 2,195 fans, Harvard posted an 82-68 win over Dartmouth Saturday afternoon. The Crimson was led by 19 points by freshman Seth Towns. Harvard also saw great production from Corey Johnson, who added 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from behind the arc and from Zena Edosomwan with 15 points and a team-best seven rebounds. Senior co-captain Siyani Chambers also chipped in 10 points and a team-best six assists.

Scouting Cornell
The Big Red stands at 5-12 on the season, including a 1-1 record in Ivy League play. The Big Red has dropped its past four of its last six contests, but defeated Columbia, 67-62 Saturday at Levien Gymnasium.

Sophomore Matt Morgan leads the Ivy League in scoring (18.3 ppg.) and 3-pointers (55), while ranking in the top-10 in minutes played (third, 33.0 mpg.), free-throw percentage (fifth, .852) and 3-point percentage (seventh, .401). Senior Robert Hatter became the 26th player in Cornell history to reach the 1,000-point plateau earlier this season and ranks second on the team in scoring (12.4 ppg.) and assists (2.5 apg.) and is tied for third in rebounding (4.6 rpg.) while shooting 58 percent from inside the 3-point arc.

Cornell leads the all-time series with the Crimson, 92-78, but Harvard has won 10 of the last 12 meetings. The two teams split the series in each of the last two years.

First-year head coach Brian Earl, one of the greatest players in Princeton basketball history, served as assistant and associate head coach at his alma mater and helped his program to a 143-69 overall mark, a 72-26 league mark and five postseason appearances since the 2009-10 season.

Scouting Columbia
The Lions had won three-straight before Cornell spoiled their Ivy home opener, 67-62, at Levien Gymnasium Saturday. Columbia averages 74.8 points per game, shooting at a 45.2 percent clip from the field.

Luke Petrasek paces the Lions in points and rebounds, posting 15.3 points per game and 7.0 boards. Nate Hickman and Mike Smith also average in double-figures, posting 14.1 and 13.5 points per game, respectively. All three rank in the top-10 in the Ancient Eight in scoring.

The Lions lead the all-time series with the Crimson, 96-80 and took both meetings a year ago. Despite four double-digit scorers and a flurry of second-half 3-pointers, Harvard fell at Columbia in the teams' second meeting, 90-76.

Columbia is led by Jim Engles in his first year, who became the 23rd head coach in the 116-year history of the program in April 2016. Engles returns to New York City after spending the past eight years as head coach for the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Over the past six seasons at NJIT, Engles compiled a 100-88 record, including back-to-back 20-win seasons in his final two years. Prior to leading the Highlanders, Engles served as an assistant coach at Columbia under Joe Jones from 2003 to 2008.

Creating a Winning Culture 
Harvard has posted a 163-64 (.717) overall record since the start of the 2009-10 season, ranking as the 19th-highest win percentage in the country over the last six-plus seasons (as of games played Jan. 25). 

Harvard has posted an 86-14 (.856) record at Lavietes Pavilion since the start of the 2009-10 season, representing the 18th highest home-court win percentage in the country over the last six-plus seasons (as of games played Jan. 25).

Getting Defensive
The Crimson ranks first in field goal percentage defense (39.4), scoring defense (63.9) and blocked shots (5.3) in the Ivy League. Harvard has held six opponents to under 40.0 percent shooting and six to under 60 points (6-0). 

Under Tommy Amaker, Harvard has held six opponents to fewer than 40 points and eight opponents to less than 30.0 percent shooting.

Dropping Dimes
Harvard averages 15.3 assists per game in 2016-17. Under Amaker, the Crimson posted its best assist average in 2009-10, with 15.4 helpers per game.

Senior captain Siyani Chambers leads the Ivy League with 6.2 helpers per game in 2016-17. Chambers ranks 12th in the country in helpers per game and No. 6 in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.6). 

The inaugural Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, 2017, at the Palestra in Philadelphia. The top four teams will earn berths in the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN's networks. For more information, visit

From Way Down Town
This season, Harvard has connected on five-plus 3-pointers 13 times and made at least 10 treys three times. The Crimson averages 8.1 triples per game. Sophomore Corey Johnson ranks fourth in the league with 2.4 triples per game.

Harvard set a new program record with 220 3-pointers in 2015-16 and has 121 through 15 games this year. Johnson led the team with 74 3-pointers, the third-most in program history and a new freshman record.

On the Glass
Through 15 games, the Crimson ranks second in the Ivy League in rebounding margin (+0.8).

Protecting The Rim
Harvard has registered 5.3 blocked shots per game this year, best in the Ancient Eight. Chris Lewis and Zena Edosomwan rank 3-4 in the conference with 1.6 and 1.5 blocks per game, respectively. 

Nonconference Watch
Harvard has gone 99-58 in non-conference play under head coach Tommy Amaker, including nine-straight seasons with a .500 record or better in out-of-conference action. Harvard finished 8-5 in 2016-17. 

Harvard owns a 15-23 record against power conference opponents under Tommy Amaker. The Crimson defeated Boston College in six straight seasons from 2009-2014, again this season, and has also topped Auburn, California, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida State, Michigan, TCU and Utah.

Kings of Massachusetts Courts
Harvard is 32-14 overall against its in-state rivals under head coach Tommy Amaker, and owns a 25-7 record against Boston area schools with Amaker at the helm. Harvard played four Division I schools from Massachusetts, and six overall, this year (4-2).

Detur Book Prize
Chris Egi was announced as a recipient of the Detur Book Prize, the oldest prize awarded by Harvard College, a year ago. The Detur Book Prize recognizes sophomores who attained very high academic standing in their first year at the College.

In The Spotlight
The Crimson has played on TV 84 times since 2010-11. Harvard is slated to 11 games on national or regional television in 2016-17.

Sold Out
The Crimson sold out against Dartmouth Jan. 21 and played in front of a sold-out Lavietes Pavilion crowd seven times last season. Since 2010-11, the Crimson has played in front of a full house a total of 37 times.

On The Sidelines
Head coach Tommy Amaker's 185 wins are the most at Harvard and the sixth-most in the Ivy League since the conference began competition in 1956. His 86 Ivy League victories, meanwhile, sit eighth in conference history.

Amaker has led Harvard to five Ivy League championships, tying him with former Penn coach Bob Weinhauer (1977-82) for the third-most titles in Ancient Eight history.

Harvard Coach                                  Harvard Wins

1. Tommy Amaker, 2007-present..................... 185

2. Frank Sullivan, 1991-2007........................ 178

3. Floyd S. Wilson, 1954-68.......................... 143

4. Edward A. Wachter, 1920-33................... 120

5. Frank McLaughlin, 1977-85......................... 99

Ivy Coach                                            Overall Wins

1. Pete Carril, Princeton 1967-96................ 514

4. Joe Vancisin, Yale 1956-75...................... 206

5. Jack Rohan, Columbia 1961-74, 1990-95 198

6. Tommy Amaker, 2007-present..................... 185

7. Frank Sullivan, 1991-2007........................ 178

Ivy Coach                                                   Ivy Wins

1. Pete Carril, Princeton 1967-96................ 310

7. Jack McCloskey, Penn 1956-66.................. 87

8. Tommy Amaker, Harvard 2007-present........ 86

Going Pro
Harvard has been well represented in the professional ranks this season as six former Crimson continue their playing careers.

Student-Athlete                           Professional Team

Kyle Casey '13-14...................................................

... Helios Suns Domzale (Slovenia) - 2015-present

Brandyn Curry '13-14.............................................

................. Helios Suns (Slovenia) – 2016-present

Evan Harris '09........................................................

............. Saitama Broncos (Japan) - 2015-present

Jeremy Lin '10........................................................

.................... Brooklyn Nets (NBA) - 2016-present

Wesley Saunders '15

. Windy City Bulls (NBA DLeague) - 2016-present

Keith Wright '12.....................................................

........................ Weschester Knicks (NBA DLeague) - 2016-present

FIBA U19 World Championships
Chris Egi, Corey Johnson and Weisner Perez represented their respective countries at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships in Greece.

Egi, who was appointed as a captain by his coaching staff, paired with Johnson to lift Team Canada to a fifth-place finish, the country's highest finish at the competition. Perez, meanwhile, helped the Dominican Republic finish 13th in its first appearance since 1983.

Beating The Odds
The Crimson is 4-11 against ranked opponents since 2008-09, marking the only four wins over ranked opponents in program history.

Date            Opponent                                 Score

1/7/09..... at No. 17 Boston College W, 82-70

11/25/11 vs. No. 20 Florida State W, 46-41

3/23/13.. vs. No. 10 New Mexico. W, 68-62

3/20/14.. vs. No. 15 Cincinnati.... W, 61-57

Margin of Victory
Under head coach Tommy Amaker, the Crimson has won 48 games by 20 or more points, 12 games by 30 or more points, and three games by 40 or more.

Comeback Kids
Harvard overcame a 21-point deficit with 9:02 remaining at Cornell on Feb. 20, 2016, marking the second-largest comeback by the Crimson under head coach Tommy Amaker and the 18th time that the team has overcome a double-digit hole.

Nail Biters
This year, Harvard is 1-1 in games decided by three points or less and is 21-22 all-time in games decided by three points or less under head coach Tommy Amaker.

Extra Sessions
Under head coach Tommy Amaker, Harvard is 13-4 when going to overtime. This includes a 4-1 mark in double-overtime contests and a 1-0 record when needing three overtimes.

Chasing History
• Harvard won at least 20 games in six straight seasons from 2009-15, matching Penn (1969-75) for the longest streak of 20-win seasons in Ivy League history.

• The Crimson won five straight Ivy League championships from 2010-15, becoming just the second program in Ancient Eight history to win at least five successive titles (Penn 1970-75, 1978-82).

• The Crimson made four-straight NCAA tournament appearances from 2011-15, joining Princeton (1989-92) and Penn (1970-75) as just the third program in Ivy League history to represent the conference in the Big Dance in four successive years.

The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball 
At halftime of the team's game versus Princeton on Feb. 21, 2015, Harvard Athletics announced the endowment of the department's   coaching position: The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball.

Made possible through the generosity of Thomas G. Stemberg '71, MBA'73, a long-standing Friend of Harvard Basketball and supporter of Harvard Athletics, this endowment serves as a commitment to the continued success of the men's basketball program. Stemberg's affiliation with Harvard spanned nearly 50 years, and he served as an honorary co-chair for the Friends of Harvard Basketball.

Linsanity: Harvard In The NBA
Jeremy Lin burst onto the national scene in February of 2012 after scoring 136 points in his first five NBA starts for the New York Knicks, the most for an NBA player since the merger with the ABA in 1976-77, and lifting the club into playoff position. Lin was rewarded for his spectacular play by appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in back-to-back weeks, winning the ESPY for "Best Breakthrough Athlete," and being named one of Time Magazine's "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World" for 2012.

Lin is in his seventh NBA season, first with the Brooklyn Nets, after averaging 11.8 ppg, 4.4 apg and 2.8 rpg through his first six years.