HANOVER, N.H. — Freshmen Chris Lewis and Justin Bassey each scored 14 points to lead Harvard to a 74-58 victory over host Dartmouth in the Ivy League opener for both teams at Leede Arena on Saturday night. The duo combined to hit 13-of-17 field goals as the Crimson (7-5, 1-0 Ivy) collectively shot 53.4 percent (31-of-58) from the floor, while the Big Green (3-11, 0-1 Ivy) were held to 38.0 percent (19-of-50).
Sophomore Evan Boudreaux led all players with 15 points and 14 rebounds for Dartmouth to register his third consecutive double-double and league-leading seventh of the season. He was supported by junior Miles Wright and freshman Brendan Barry with 12 points apiece.
The Harvard defense was not limited to contesting shots, though, as the Big Green were forced into 17 turnovers compared to just nine for the visitors. The Crimson also blocked five shots and more than doubled up Dartmouth in the paint, 40-18, but the rebounding totals were close to even with Harvard holding a slim 32-30 edge.
Dartmouth was feeling an upset vibe early, scoring eight straight points fueled by a Boudreaux three-pointer — one of three on the night for the 6-8 forward — and capped by a Barry three-point play to erase an 8-3 Harvard lead. A Crimson bucket did not derail the Green as sophomore Guilien Smith drove to the hoop for two and Barry swished a three-pointer, causing Harvard coach Tommy Amaker to call a timeout with Dartmouth leading, 16-10.
Nearly the rest of the half belonged to the Crimson as they outscored the Big Green, 23-5, over a 10-minute stretch. Lewis hit consecutive layups, and Bassey answered a Dartmouth baseline jumper with his lone three-pointer of the night to cut the Harvard deficit to one. Another layup, this time by Chris Egi for his only points of the game, put the Crimson on top for good with a Robert Baker trifecta and a Bryce Aiken steal and layup extended the Harvard lead to 24-18.
When Siyani Chambers hit two free throws with 1:32 left in the half, Harvard owned a 33-21 advantage. But Dartmouth showed signs of life before the intermission thanks to another Barry triple and a Smith layup to make it a seven-point game, 33-26.
Both teams came out firing early in the second half as Boudreaux hit a layup, a three-pointer and two free throws, and Wesley Dickinson added a pair of foul shots on Dartmouth’s first four possessions. But Harvard answered every score, never allowing the Big Green to get closer than five points. A Henry Welsh layup started a 10-point run that was punctuated with a slam by Zena Edosomwan as the Crimson clamped down on the defensive end, forcing five turnovers on the next six Dartmouth possessions.
Three times the Big Green would cut the difference into single digits at nine points, and each time Harvard responded with a quick bucket. Dartmouth tried to stay in the game at the foul line, converting 12-of-13 (season-high .923) free throws while the Crimson managed to knock down just 5-of-12 (.417). But Harvard was continually able to score down low with 26 of its 41 second-half points coming in the paint.
Lewis was 7-of-8 from the floor for his 14 points to go with five rebounds, while Bassey was 6-of-9 with a team-high six boards. All 12 Crimson players who saw time had at least one basket, and Chambers ran the show with seven assists to go with 12 points.
Boudreaux managed to hit just 4-of-13 shots, but 3-of-6 from distance and all four free throws. Barry was the Big Green marksman for the night, going 4-of-7 overall and 3-of-4 from distance.
Dartmouth has two weeks off before getting a chance to avenge this loss when it travels to Harvard on Jan. 21 for a game at 2 p.m. that will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network. The Crimson has two games before that contest, next hosting McGill on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.