NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Harvard men's basketball captured a 78-77 road decision over Yale on Friday night, handing the Bulldogs their first home loss of the season and their first in Ivy action.
With the victory, the Crimson stopped a two-game losing streak and improved to 14-6 and 3-2 in the Ivy League. Yale, which was receiving votes in both top-25 polls, dropped to 16-5 (4-1 Ivy) and had its six-game winning streak erased.
The contest came down to the final seconds of the second half. First, Christian Juzang calmy sank two free throws with 5.6 seconds left, pushing Harvard to a 77-74 lead. Then, the Bulldogs' Azar Swain raced up the floor, stopped beyond the three-point arc and banked in a three, all while getting fouled. The guard, however, missed his free throw with 2.1 seconds left and Justin Bassey corralled the rebound to seal the victory.
Unlike last week's games when Harvard started off slowly, the Crimson jumped out to a 13-6 lead less than four minutes into the game and later pushed its cushion to eight points multiple times as the half wore on. In the final 5:08 of the first period, Harvard outscored the Bulldogs, 17-10, to take a 45-32 lead into the locker room.
The Crimson withstood a number of Yale runs in the second half, first when Noah Kirkwood hit a jumper to push its lead to 52-42. After that bucket, the Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run to get within one, only to have Rio Haskett quiet the crowd.
Over the next several minutes, Harvard made efforts to stretch its lead, ultimately growing it to 13 points with 5:02 left. The home side, however, would not go away easily, scoring 11 unanswered points, highlighted by Swain's three with 2:25 to go. Up 73-71, Harvard's Juzang made two from charity stripe, but Swain was at it again, knocking down yet another trey, bringing Yale to within one at 75-74.
The Bulldogs fouled Kirkwood with 27 seconds left and the sophomore made the second of two free throws, giving Harvard a 76-74 cushion. On the other end of the floor, the Crimson defense stood tall with Chris Lewis blocking a shot, leading to Juzang getting fouled with 5.6 left and setting up the final moments en route to the win.
• Danilo Djuricic, who made a number of baskets in key moments, finished with a season-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three-point range. The seven field goals and three treys tied his career high.
• Noah Kirkwood had a team-best 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. His eight field goals matched a season high. He is averaging 19.5 points in his last two games.
• Christian Juzang scored 15 points to go with his career- and game-high nine assists. His previous single-game best was eight assists against Yale on Feb. 17, 2018.
• Robert Baker totaled 10 points and 10 rebounds to record his first double-double of the season and the third of his career. The senior also added a season-high-tying two assists, game-high three blocked shots and team-best two steals.
Harvard returns to action on Saturday when it plays at Brown. Game time is set for 6 p.m., with the contest airing on ESPN+.