CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – On a rainy day in Cambridge, Harvard men's basketball used a group effort to win its sixth-straight contest over UC Irvine Saturday afternoon. Four different players scored in double figures to propel the Crimson to the 77-73 victory.
The Crimson came out of the locker room red hot and ready to play. After the Anteaters converted the first field goal of the game, the Crimson rattled off 14-straight points, holding UC Irvine to no baskets over a five-minute stretch.
Harvard continued to roll after a Rio Haskett three and a pair of Chris Lewis dunks gave them a 21-9 lead. However, it was the defensive effort of the Crimson that helped it build a 35-21 halftime lead. Sophomore Noah Kirkwood led the way with seven first-half points, while frst-year Chris Ledlum poured in six of his own.
The current Ivy League wins leader kept the pressure on UC Irvine in the second half, building a 19-point lead. Senior Christian Juzang and Lewis led the charge, scoring the team's first 10 points after the break.
UC Irvine cut the lead to two points with 2:27 to go, but the Harvard defense stood tall, holding off the late Anteater charge. Back-to-back layups from senior Justin Bassey and Ledlum gave the Crimson a 73-67 lead that put the game out of reach.
Kirkwood and Ledlum iced the game with foul shots to secure the victory in the team's final game before conference play.
Juzang led the way with 15 points and a game-high five assists, while Kirkwood and Ledlum added 15 and 12, respectively. Lewis, meanwhile, scored 10 points with Robert Baker and Danilo Djuricic each grabbing seven rebounds.
Harvard Highlights and Notes
- Harvard's six-game winning streak is its longest heading into its Ivy League opener in the history of Ivy play, which dates to the start of the 1955-56 campaign. The previous longest winning streak heading into Harvard's conference opener under Tommy Amaker was four in 2009-10.
- The Crimson's six-game winning streak is tied for the eighth-longest of the Amaker era.
- The Crimson's bench continued to impress as it outscored its counterparts for the 13th time in 15 games (30-20). It was plus-10 in the category, marking the 10th time this season it has accomplished the feat.
- Harvard finished its non-conference home slate with a perfect 5-0 record.
- Chris Lewis scored in double figures for a fifth consecutive outing, tying his personal best, which was originally set in the first five games of the 2018-19 campaign.
- Christian Juzang scored in double figures for the third game in a row and is averaging 15.3 points during that span.
- Chris Ledlum has come off the bench the last two games and produced a pair of 12-point efforts.
Harvard has a two-week break to ready itself for its Ivy League opener against the Dartmouth Big Green at Lavietes Pavilion. Game time is set for 2 p.m., with the contest airing on ESPN+.