CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard men's basketball shot nearly 57 percent from the field in the second half to help it overcome a six-point halftime deficit en route to a 69-65 win over Penn at Lavietes Pavilion on Saturday night.
The Crimson won its fourth straight game and remained unbeaten at home to improve to 18-7 overall and 7-3 in the Ivy League. The Quakers, meanwhile, fell to 13-10 and pulled even in the Ivy at 5-5.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw the lead switch hands eight times. Harvard was led by senior Chris Lewis' 10 points and Noah Kirkwood's six in the first period, but the sophomore was hampered by two early fouls, limiting him to just nine minutes. Penn, however, caught fire toward the end of the half, making seven of its final nine attempts from the field en route to a 33-27 halftime lead.
When the action resumed, it was fast and furious with both teams trading buckets. In the first 4:06 of the second half, 18 points were scored with Harvard outscoring Penn, 11-7, in the segment to get within two points at 40-38.
As the clock dipped under 11:00, Harvard made its move and scored 10 unanswered points, turning a 51-47 deficit into a 57-51 advantage. Penn buried a three with 7:47 left to stop the streak, but the Crimson eventually pushed its lead to eight points twice down the stretch and settled for the four-point decision.
Lewis and Kirkwood each finished with a game-high 19 points, and Bassey added 12 points for a Crimson side that shot 45 percent from the field (56.7 percent in the second half). Harvard also outrebounded Penn, 39-27, and held advantages in second-chance points (19-8) and points in the paint (42-32).
• The Crimson climbed into a second-place tie with Princeton in the Ivy League standings and is one game behind Yale.
• Harvard moves to 18-7 on the season, its best record through 25 games since the 2016-17 campaign and is two games better at this point than last year's squad.
• The Crimson keeps its perfect home record intact, improving to 10-0 in 2019-20, and extending its home winning streak to 12 games, a streak that dates to last season.
• Noah Kirkwood has made at least one three-pointer in seven straight games and hit the double-figure scoring mark for the ninth outing in a row. Both are the longest stretches of his career.
• Chris Lewis posted his 17th double-figure scoring performance of the campaign with his effort in the first half alone.
• Justin Bassey scored 10 points in the second half en route to his fifth double-digit scoring performance of the campaign. It was his first 10-plus scoring effort since scoring 13 points at Penn.
• Ten Harvard players saw the floor and all 10 played at least 11 minutes. They all, additionally, found the scoring and rebounding columns.
Harvard returns to action on Friday when it faces Columbia on the road. Game time is set for 7 p.m., with the contest airing on ESPNEWS.