Boston, Mass. – Harvard senior forward Agunwa Okolie registered a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead a second half Crimson surge to hold off Brown, 79-73, Friday evening at Lavietes Pavilion.
Harvard improves to 10-13 overall, 2-5 in the Ivy League, while Brown falls to 7-14, 2-5 in Ivy play.
"Harvard really put a lot of pressure on our interior defense, and they shot the ball extremely well, when they needed to" said Brown head coach Mike Martin. "We really competed in the first half with our top two interior players (Cedric Kuakumensah and Steven Spieth) out of the game with foul trouble."
In the battle of the Okolie brothers, Brown freshman Obi Okolie (Ajax, Ontario) and Harvard's Agunwa, both brothers distinguished themselves. Obie scored 14 points and pulled down six rebounds for the Bears.
The Bears were paced by junior Tavon Blackmon (Upper Marlboro, MD), who scored 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, while handing out six assists. Juniors Steven Spieth (Dallas, TX) and JR Hobbie (Spring Lake, NJ) added 10 points each for the Bears.
Harvard's biggest advantage was its bench strength as the Crimson bench out-scored the Bears by a 31-14 margin.
Agunwa Okolie's 12 rebounds helped Harvard to a 37-35 rebounding advantage. Corbin Miller also scored 15 points for the Crimson, while Corey Johnson and Patrick Steeves chipped in with 14 points each.
With Bears' senior captain Cedric Kuakumensah (Worcester, MA) out of the lineup with two fouls for the last 18 minutes of the first half, Harvard led by as many as eight points, 15-7, with 13:23 remaining.
Brown took its first lead, 19-17, on a four-point play by Hobbie with 7:09 left in the half.
Blackmon knocked down a trey for the Bears with three seconds remaining in the half to give Brown its largest lead, 33-28, at intermission. Blackmon paced the Bears with nine first half points.
Harvard opened up an eight-point lead, 58-50, on a desperation trey by Agunwa Okolie, beating the shot clock with 7:43 remaining.
The Bears cut the Crimson lead to three points, 58-55, on a Blackmon trey with just under five minutes left in the game.
Harvard again opened up an eight point lead, 64-56, with three minutes left, but the Bears battled back and cut Harvard's lead to three points, 74-71, on a three point play by Spieth with 19 seconds left.
Miller hit four-of-four free throws down the stretch to put the game away for the Crimson.
Brown is back in action again tomorrow evening, facing Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. Tip-off is 7:00 pm.