PHILADELPHIA – Harvard men's basketball nearly completed an impressive comeback in overtime, but a Noah Kirkwood three-pointer with six seconds left in the extra session was off the mark leading a 75-72 Ivy League road loss at The Palestra on Friday evening.
With the defeat, the Crimson fell to 13-5 on the season and 2-1 in the Ivy. The result wiped away Harvard's eight-game winning streak, its six-game road winning streak and its 10-game overtime winning streak, which was tops in the nation.
Very little when the Crimson's way in the first half despite Justin Bassey hitting a three-pointer to open the scoring for Harvard. After it took a 3-2 lead, the Quakers (9-7; 1-2 Ivy) went on a 14-0 run and later led 24-5 with 12:56 left in the first period.
Christian Juzang, Chris Lewis and Chris Ledlum, combined to score the game's next nine points to cut its deficit to 10. From there, Harvard outscored Penn, 14-11, to make it a 35-28 Quaker lead at halftime.
The Crimson stayed within striking distance and trailed, 44-40, with 14:40 to go, but went scoreless for five-and-a-half minutes until a Rio Haskett bucket ended the scoreless streak. The junior guard's field goal was the catalyst to 12 straight Harvard points, including a Danilo Djuricic triple to end the run, which leveled the score at 52 with 4:36 remaining.
After tough first half (0 points, 0-5 FG), Kirkwood came alive in the final four minutes of regulation. The sophomore scored Harvard's last six points, with his third field goal coming with just under two seconds left, sending the game into OT. Each of his three buckets down the stretch tied the score.
In the extra session, Penn enjoyed an early four-point lead, but Kirkwood kept the visitors close by scoring the Crimson's first five points. Despite his efforts, the Quakers led, 68-63, until Juzang nailed a three. Trailing, 68-66, Harvard allowed Penn to score four unanswered points before Bassey hit a trey, slicing the Crimson deficit to 72-69, with 24 seconds left.
Penn's Ray Jerome wound up making the second of two free throws and later cashed in both attempts with 13 seconds left. With Harvard down by six, Bassey canned another three-pointer, and was fouled, this time with nine seconds left. The senior, however, missed the free throw, but got his own rebound, kicked it to Kirkwood at the top of the arc, but the attempt was not true.
- Four players scored in double figures for Harvard with Chris Lewis leading the way with 16 points. Bassey scored 13, with Juzang and Kirkwood adding 12 and 11, respectively.
- Lewis reached double figures in scoring for the eighth straight game, extending his career-best streak.
- For the third time this season, Bassey grabbed a season-high nine rebounds. His total also led all players. The senior also made a season-high three treys for the second consecutive outing.
- Juzang collected seven boards, matching his season high first accomplished at Howard.
- After trailing 24-5 with 12:56 left in the first half, Harvard outscored Penn, 67-51, the rest of the way.
Harvard returns to action on Saturday when it plays at Princeton. Game time is set for 6 p.m., with the contest airing on ESPN+.