TORONTO – Taking the floor for the first-annual James Naismith Classic, Harvard men's basketball dropped a tight game to Buffalo, 88-76, at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Crimson moves to 3-2 this season, while the Bulls improve to 2-1.
Senior Bryce Aiken led the Crimson with 18 points, while five players finished in double figures. Seniors Justin Bassey and Chris Lewis tallied 12 and 11 points, respectively, while sophomore Noah Kirkwood and junior Danilo Djuricic had 10 each.
Harvard led by as many as nine in the opening frame, getting out to a 12-3 lead after a triple from Bassey and consecutive put-backs from Djuricic. Aiken poured in seven quick points to keep Harvard on top, as seven different players scored in the half, but a Buffalo run to end the period gave the Bulls a lead at the break, 40-38.
Triples on back-to-back possessions from Bassey and first-year Luka Sakota regained Harvard the lead, 46-45, but the Bulls went on a run after hitting a series of 3-pointers to take a 70-60 advantage at the under-eight timeout, and held on for the win.
- Five Harvard players scored in double figures: Aiken (18), Bassey (12), Lewis (11), Kirkwood (10) and Djuricic (10).
- Djuricic added a game-high nine rebounds, while Lewis and Bassey each tallied eight.
- Harvard blocked nine shots as a team, including three from Lewis.
- This was the first ever meeting on the hardwood between Harvard and Buffalo.
- The Naismith Classic represented a homecoming for the team's three Canadian players: Danilo Djuricic, Noah Kirkwood and Luka Sakota.
Harvard returns to Massachusetts for a Bay State battle at Holy Cross on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Patriot League Network.