Men's Hoops Returns to Lavietes Pavilion This Week to Play Host to Cornell, Columbia

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Photo Courtesy: Erica Denhoff.
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard is set to play at home for the first time Jan. 18, when it welcomes Cornell and Columbia to Lavietes Pavilion. The Crimson, which split a pair of road games last week, will face the Big Red on Friday before clashing with the Lions on Saturday. Both contests are scheduled for 7 p.m. ET starts and will air on ESPN+.

How to Follow
Broadcast: Cornell - ESPN+International Stream | Columbia - ESPN+International Stream
Live Stats: Cornell | Columbia
Game Notes: Cornell/Columbia
Twitter: @HarvardMBB

What to Know
• Harvard closed out its challenging five-game Ivy League road trip last week with a thrilling win at Yale before suffering a tough loss at Brown. Both were one-point decisions. The Crimson finished the road stretch with a 2-3 record despite a cumulative score of 360-360.

• Harvard, which has played 10 consecutive games decided by eight points or less, including three straight one-point decisions, enters as one of 21 undefeated teams at home this season (through Feb. 11 games), having won all six inside Lavietes Pavilion. Dating to last year, the Crimson has emerged victorious in eight straight home games, which is tied for the 29th-longest streak nationally (through Feb. 11 games).

• Last Friday night at Yale, which was receiving votes in both major college basketball top-25 polls, Harvard led by as many as 15 points and enjoyed a 45-32 lead at halftime before emerging with the 78-77 victory. As a team, the Crimson shot 54.4 percent from the field, had 23 assists on 31 field goals (.742), outrebounded the Bulldogs (35-30) and enjoyed a 27-6 advantage in bench points. Individually, four Harvard players reached double figures in scoring (Noah Kirkwood - 18, Danilo Djuricic - 17, Christian Juzang - 15, Robert Baker - 10). Other notable performances: Baker - 10 rebounds, season-high 2 assists, 3 blocked shots, 2 steals; Juzang - career-high 9 assists, 1 turnover, 37 minutes; Bassey - 7 rebounds (8.0 rpg last 3 gms). 

• The game at Brown on Saturday was a tough pill to swallow, as Harvard lost on a three-point play with 0.5 seconds left in the second half. Robert Baker continued his solid play on the trip, contributing a team-high 18 points and eight rebounds, with Noah Kirkwood and Christian Juzang each scoring 10 points. The Crimson owned a higher field-goal percentage (.456-.426), made more threes (7-4) and committed fewer turnovers (14-15), but was on the wrong end of the free-throw battle (28-12) in what ended in a 72-71 defeat.

Robert Baker is coming off a weekend where he averaged team highs in points (14.0), rebounds (9.0), blocked shots (1.5) and steals (1.5). The senior from Georgia also shot 61.1 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from three-point distance. His double-double at Yale was his first of the season and his 18 points at Brown was one shy of his career high.

Noah Kirkwood shared team-high honors with Baker last week by averaging 14.0 points on 50-percent shooting. The sophomore set a season high with eight buckets (8-12) at Yale en route to a team-high 18 points. In his last five games, he is averaging 15.4 points and 3.8 rebounds.

At The Helm
The all-time winningest head coach in Harvard men's basketball history, Tommy Amaker is on the Harvard sidelines for his 13th season. The Thomas G. Stemberg '71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men's Basketball has directed the Crimson to a period of unprecedented prosperity in the form of four NCAA tournament appearances (2012-15), seven Ivy League championships (2011-15, 18-19) and six 20-win seasons (2010-15). Amaker owns a 420-277 career record: 244-138 at Harvard, 108-84 at Michigan and 68-55 at Seton Hall.