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Notebook: Long Ball, Lewis Push Harvard Past Cornell

Chris Lewis takes on Cornell on Friday night at Lavietes Pavilion.

What a night.

With just over a minute left in overtime and with Harvard up 86-85 against Cornell, what might’ve the biggest play of the night happened outside of Lavietes Pavilion.

In fact, it happened all the way in New Haven.

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In the heat of a neck-and-neck game, Crimson fans looked up to see the Bulldogs had beaten Penn 80-79 on a last second layup from Yale freshman forward Paul Atkinson. The Penn loss puts Harvard’s hopes of a conference title in its own hands—that is, if the Crimson could come away with the win on Friday night.

With 27 ticks to go, junior guard Joel Davis made a layup to give the Big Red—a team still fighting for a spot in the conference tournament—the lead. On the ensuing possession, and with just under ten seconds on the clock, sophomore guard Seth Towns received the ball at the top of the key. After a pump fake, Towns crossed over his defender and drove towards the rim, but was fouled before throwing up a shot.

With five seconds on the clock, the sophomore headed to the line with the chance to give Harvard the lead. He missed the first, but made the second, tying the game at 87. Seconds later, a 30-foot heave from junior guard Matt Morgan clanged off the back iron.

The Crimson headed into a second overtime. Heading into this frame, though, a win assured a shot at the conference title.

And it showed.

The Crimson (16-12, 11-2 Ivy) would outscore Cornell (11-15, 5-8 Ivy) 11-1 in double overtime, coming away with the 98-88 win.

THREE AND D

In what has slowly become a staple of the Crimson’s offense in conference play, the Crimson shot the lights out from deep on Saturday. Led by sophomore wing Justin Bassey, who finished the night shooting four-of-five from three, the Crimson shot a blistering 48 percent from beyond the arc.

In the second half in particular, Harvard needed all of the long balls that it could get. Over a stretch of just under three minutes, Morgan—currently the eighth-leading scorer in the nation—rattled off 11 straight points for the Big Red. He finished the night tying his season-high of 34 points on 12-of-22 shooting from the field.

“There was a stretch in the second half where he came out and hit three or four threes in a row for them,” Bassey said. “Going into media timeout we really have to emphasize slowing them down and figuring out how was he getting the shots, where we were breaking down to where he was getting wide-open looks at the hoop.”

Despite the early foul trouble, Towns matched Morgan shot-for-shot, scoring 10 of the Crimson’s 12 points over the same stretch.

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