Boston, Mass. - In a defensive battle between the top two teams in the Ivy League, first place Harvard came away with a hard-fought 52-45 win over Brown in the lowest scoring game of the season for both teams at Lavietes Pavilion Friday night.
Harvard improves to 18-3 overall, 5-0 in the Ivy League, while Brown drops out of second place with an 11-8 overall mark, 3-2 in Ivy play.
"We guarded, played hard and competed on a night we didn't play our best," said Brown head coach Mike Martin. "In the last two minutes of the first half and the opening five minutes of the second half, we went from down two points to down 15 points. We fought back hard to make it a one possession game in the final two minutes."
Freshman guard Tavon Blackmon led the Bears with 11 points, and his two free throws with 2:17 remaining pulled the Bears to within three points of the Crimson, 48-45. But that was a close as the Bears would get with Harvard scoring the game's final four points, all on free throws.
Senior Sean McGonagill, the Ivy League's leading scorer, freshman Leland King and freshman Norman Hobbie scored eight points each for the Bears. Brown sophomore center Cedric Kuakumensah helped the Bears to a 46-39 rebounding advantage with a game high 10 rebounds.
Neither team shot the ball well, with the Bears shooting just 27-percent from the field (15-55) and the Crimson shooting 32-percent (18-56).
Harvard also had one double figure scorer with Zena Edosomwan coming off the bench to score a game high 12 points. Laurent Rivard chipped in with 9 points for the Crimson.
Brown grabbed a 13-11 lead at the 9:08 mark of the opening half when Hobbie connected on a long trey. King's layup with six minutes remaining gave Brown its biggest lead, 17-13.
The Crimson outscored the Bears, 14-4, to close out the half and grab a 27-21 lead at intermission.
Harvard opened the second half with a 9-0 run to grab a 36-21 lead on a steal and a layup by sophomore Siyani Chambers.
While the Crimson thought they had delivered the knockout punch, Brown clawed its way back in the game with an 18-8 spurt to pull to within five points, 44-39, on a McGonagill trey with 8:18 left to play. Blackmon connected on two free throws to pull the Bears to within three points, 48-45, with 2:17 left in the game.
The Bears are back in action again on Saturday, traveling to Hanover, New Hampshire to face Dartmouth. Tip-off is 7:00 pm.