Men’s Basketball Edged at Princeton, 73-69

Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
Photo courtesy of Gil Talbot
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PRINCETON, N.J. – Despite a career high 26 points from freshman Seth Towns, the Harvard men's basketball team dropped a 73-69 decision at Princeton Friday evening.

Rookie Justin Bassey posted 13 points and six rebounds for the Crimson (18-8, 10-3). Towns paced the team with eight rebounds, shooting 9-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from three. Harvard connected on 13-of-28 from behind the 3-point arc, shooting 49 percent overall. The Crimson was undone by 18 turnovers that the Tigers turned into 21 points.

Princeton (20-6, 13-0) was led by 30 points from Steven Cook, who shot 13-of-16 from the floor. Myles Stephens (18) and Devin Cannady (13) also posted double-figures. Amir Bell hit a lefty hook with 1.1 seconds remaining to secure the win for the Tigers.

Harvard went 6-of-10 from the field, taking all its shots from behind the arc, to hold a 18-14 lead with 7:37 minutes gone. Princeton scored seven of the next nine to take a one-point lead, 21-20, three minutes later. The Tigers continued to expand their lead, outpacing the Crimson 7-3 to hold a 28-23 advantage at the 5:56 mark.

Towns connected for the next four Crimson points and Robert Baker nailed a three to pull Harvard within two, 32-30. Princeton finished the half with nine of the final 11 points to hold a 41-32 advantage at the break. The Crimson shot well from the floor, hitting 11-of-22, but was outdone by 12 turnovers that the Tigers turned into 13 points. 

Harvard came out of the locker room focused, nailing 3-of-3 from behind the arc over the first 75 seconds to pull even, 41-41. Princeton posted seven of the next nine points, but the Crimson immediately responded a 5-2 rally to knot the score at 50-50. 

Princeton posted a 10-5 edge over the next six minutes to inch ahead, 60-55. Bassey nailed a three from the corner and two free throws from Towns put Harvard back within one, 62-61, with 6:11 to play.

Back-to-back dunks by Towns pulled the two teams even at 65-65 and the two squads exchanged baskets over the next 90 seconds. Two free throws by Siyani Chambers with 1:34 to play made the score 69-69. With time running out, Bell hit a lay-up over the outstretched hand of Chris Lewis to give the Tigers the advantage with 1.1 seconds to play.

The Crimson will be back in action tomorrow at the Palestra to take on Penn. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Game Notes: Seth Towns posted double-digits for the 17th time this season. The rookie bested his career high with 26 points and reached the 20-point plateau for the fourth time this season. Justin Bassey posted double-figures for the seventh time this season. In the all-time record book, senior co-captain Siyani Chambers ranks second all-time in assists (594), sixth in steals (162) and No. 2 in points (1,271).