Cambridge, MA – The Harvard Crimson defeated the Pennsylvania Quakers 59-53 in front of a sellout crowd at Laviettes Pavilion on the front end of back-to-back games in Ivy League play. In the midst of a back and forth game down the stretch, Bryce Aiken’s triple with 6:22 remaining put the hosts up by eight points, a lead they would not relinquish. The junior guard finished the night with 12 points while fellow guard, Noah Kirkwood added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Junior AJ Brodeur led the Quakers with 24 points and nine rebounds. With the win, the Crimson improve to (15-9, 8-3), while the Quakers fall to (16-11, 4-7).
Aiken’s scoring effort, particularly in the second half, was a difference maker on a night in which both teams struggled to shoot the ball. Despite making just one of his seven field goal attempts in the first half, Aiken came out in attack mode to begin the second half. He drove hard to the basket and got himself to the line multiple times, before connecting on a layup and the aforementioned triple. In spite of his poor shooting night (3-of-14), his confidence never wavered, and he ran the Harvard offense well, finishing with five assists. He also made extra plays and helped create more possessions for his team with his hustle on the boards en route to four rebounds. Defensively, he did a nice job limiting the drives to the basket by the Penn guards while doing a solid job moving his feet.
Freshmen guard, Kirkwood also showed aggressiveness on a tough offensive night and recorded a double-double. He had to work hard on both ends of the floor to be impactful. Just like Aiken, he never backed down on the offensive end of the floor and continued putting pressure on the defense whether he made or missed a shot. His poise was particularly impressive. His hustle plays made all the difference in the game down the stretch. He got his hands on a couple of missed free throws by his teammates in the final minutes and created extra possessions to help his team hold off a solid Penn team. His attention to detail was impressive and he consistently ran the floor on offense and sprinted back on defense. Defensively, he did a nice job limiting drives to the basket and showed good footwork often anticipating dribble moves. He had one block and recorded two steals, while showing active hands in the passing lanes.
Brodeur provided excellent effort for the visiting Quakers but it was not enough to get a road win. The junior forward’s offensive versatility was on full display on this night. He played very well as the inside man in Penn’s 4-out-1-in offense, often going into triple threat and looking to attack or find cutters. His low-post footwork was outstanding, and he took advantage of the opportunity to go up against Harvard big man, Chris Lewis. He excelled in that physical matchup throughout the night, often backing Lewis into the paint and finishing with a baby-hook shot. He showed off his perimeter game as well, popping twice and knocking down a pair of triples from the top of the key. On another occasion, he faced up Lewis and exploded past him to the rim, leaving the Harvard big man in the dust. Defensively, he did a great job keeping Lewis out of the paint for the majority of the night by holding his ground and moving his feet. Brodeur showed his athleticism and hops on the boards en route to nine boards and one block. He also sprinted back and disrupted Harvard transition efforts on the night. He is the definition of hard-nosed player.
Devon Goodman also gave his best effort to give the visitors a chance to pull out a road win. Despite not having the most efficient shooting night (6-for-15), he managed to finish with 15 points. He showed a nice shooting stroke from the perimeter and connected on a pair of spot-up triples. He used his quickness well to get into the lane when the Crimson defense relaxed and showed his upper body strength on a tough drive while getting hit. He was very active on the defensive end of the floor and used his athleticism to jump into the passing lanes and his quick hands to poke the ball away from the Crimson’s gifted ball-handler, Aiken, on his way to recording four steals. He did a very good job, particularly in the first half, limiting Aiken from driving to the basket and forced six shots outside the paint.
Up Next: Harvard will host Princeton (16-8, 8-3) tomorrow night. Penn will visit Dartmouth (11-16, 2-9) on the back end of a road back-to-back.