Men’s Basketball Advances in NIT with 71-68 Win Over Georgetown

Photo by George Kubas
Photo by George Kubas
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Securing the first National Invitation Tournament (NIT) victory in program history, Harvard men's basketball topped Georgetown, 71-68, on Wednesday night at McDonough Arena. Harvard improves to 19-11 this season, while the Hoyas fall to 19-14.

Junior Bryce Aiken led the scoring for the Crimson with 19 points, while classmate Robert Baker and first-year Noah Kirkwood totaled 11 apiece. Junior Chris Lewis was also in double figures with 10. The win was the first in the NIT for an Ivy League program since 2002, and Harvard's first postseason tournament victory on a national scale since 2014, when it upset Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament.

Harvard got off to a fast start and an 11-4 lead, with senior Weisner Perez sparking the visitors with five early points. Nine lead changes followed a Georgetown run, and the Hoyas took a slim 36-35 advantage into the intermission.

The Hoyas held onto a five points-lead midway through the second half, but Harvard responded with a 12-2 run to take a five-point lead of its own, with Baker keying the run with a pair of triples. Nine lead changes made for a back-and forth second half, the last of which occurred when Aiken knocked down a jumper with 1:30 to go to take a 67-65 lead. Aiken proceeded to go 4-for-4 at the foul line to secure the win.

Harvard Highlights

  • Aiken led four players in double figures with 18 points, with Baker (11), Kirkwood (11) and Lewis (10) also reaching double digits.  
  • Harvard outrebounded the Hoyas by a plus-nine margin.
  • The Crimson went 16-for-19 from the free throw line, and did not miss in the second half (6-for-6)

Game Notes

  • The win was the first for Harvard in the series history (1-3).
  • Harvard becomes the third Ivy team to win an NIT game, joining Princeton and Yale, and the first since 2002.
  • Harvard has three victories in national postseason tournaments since 2013: vs. New Mexico (NCAA, 2013), vs. Cincinnati (NCAA, 2014) and vs. Georgetown (NIT, 2019).

What's Next?
No. 6 Harvard will travel to No. 2 NC State for the second round of the NIT on Sunday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.