ORLANDO, Fla. – Leaning on its defense and free throw shooting, Harvard men's basketball earned an opening round victory at the Orlando Invitational over Texas A&M, 62-51. The Crimson improves to 5-2 this season, while the Aggies were dealt their second loss.
Senior Justin Bassey led four in double figures with 16 points, while classmates Bryce Aiken and Chris Lewis pitched in 15 and 10, respectively. Junior Rio Haskett added 10 of his own, while senior Robert Baker matched a career-best with 13 rebounds. Harvard held Texas A&M to just 31.4 percent from the floor, while going a perfect 22-for-22 from the free throw line, which sets a new program record.
Harvard held Texas A&M to just 19.2 percent from the floor in the first half, taking a 22-18 lead at the half. The Crimson jumped out to an early lead, 9-3, after baskets from Lewis and Haskett, while Bassey connected on his first jumper of the contest to cap the period and send Harvard to the intermission on top.
Bassey scored 14 of his 16 in the second period, and the Crimson went a perfect 20-for-20 in the second half from the foul stripe. The Aggies took a brief lead, 31-27, with just under 15 minutes to play, but Harvard responded with a 7-0 run capped by a triple from junior Danilo Djuricic. Harvard led by as many as 12 in the final frame, and five different players scored from the line to seal the win.
- Harvard's 22-for-22 mark from the free throw line tops the country for FT% in a single game, besting Campbell's 15-for-15 mark against Coastal Carolina. It also broke the Orlando Invitational record for most attempts without a miss (DePaul - 13-13 vs. Minnesota in 2008), and the Harvard school record of 19 (vs. Princeton, 1984)
- Bassey tallied a season-high 16 points to lead the scoring, while Baker collected a career-best 13 rebounds.
- Harvard limited Texas A&M to just 31.4 percent shooting, including a 19.2 percent mark in the opening frame. The Aggies are the fourth opponent that has been held under 60 this season.
- Harvard tallied its first win over an SEC program since beating Auburn at the Diamond Head Classic in Maui in 2015.
- The win gives Harvard a 1-0 edge in series history.
- The Crimson improves to 10-3 overall in holiday tournaments under Tommy Amaker.
- Harvard will face its first top-five opponent since the Diamond Head Classic in Maui in 2015, when it faced No. 3/2 Oklahoma.
Harvard will face No. 5/8 Maryland in the semifinals, with tip-off set for 11:30 a.m. The game will air on ESPN2.