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Harvard's Aiken Torches Yale Again In Fourth Straight Loss

. — Bryce Aiken was going full speed to the basket from the top of the circle.

Well, it looked that was the plan.

All of sudden, he put the brakes on the left foot, dragged the right one back and launched …good!

That three-pointer, with 11 minutes, 53 seconds to play, sank the heads of the Yale players and everybody on its bench.

It gave the Crimson a nine-point lead.

It would get worse.

Aiken, the first freshman to lead Harvard in scoring in 29 years, put it on the Bulldogs for the second time in two weeks, this time with a 22-point performance in a 77-64 win at Lavietes Pavilion Friday night.

He had 14 second-half points and connected on 5 of 8 three-pointers.

"It wasn't so much (Yale), I think I was just thinking too much," Aiken said of the first half. "I was second-guessing when to shoot, when to pass, and when we came out for the second half, I just trusted my instincts and I just went with it."

Harvard, which led by as many as 17, improved to 17-7 and 9-2 in the Ivy League.

It was the seventh 20-plus point performance of the season for Aiken, including two against Yale (14-10, 6-5). He had 27 off the bench in Harvard's 75-67 win in New Haven, snapping the Bulldogs' 22-game home winning streak, fifth-longest in the country.

"He's really good," Yale coach James Jones said, "He's a really good player so you're only going to be able to do so much against (him) ... he's playing at home in his own building. I thought he made three of the toughest shots you could make. You've got a hand in his face and there's not much you can do other than foul him knocking him down, and then he's going to the free-throw line for shots."

Yale had a three-point lead at halftime, but Harvard put the game away with a 25-11 run through the first 10:01, taking a 56-45 lead. Harvard never looked back. The Bulldogs cut it to eight with less than two minutes to go, but the comeback was brief.

That track meet the Crimson started to open the second half was way too much to overcome.

"Our coach told us at halftime to pick it up." Zena Edosomwan said with a chuckle.

The Crimson placed three players in double figures. Seth Towns scored 13 of his 18 in the second half and Edosomwan had 10 of 15 in the second half, including three emphatic dunks in the decisive spurt.

"I thought our second half, with our poise at various times, it pushed out to get a lead, made a big difference," Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said.

Yale was led by Alex Copeland's 20 off the bench. They were a quiet 20, too. Big man Sam Downey scored five of his 15 in the second half. Trey Phills added 13 and Blake Reynolds had 10 for the Bulldogs, who outrebounded the Crimson 37-32, including 7-0 on the offensive glass in the first half only to see it dwindle to a 12-5 edge for the game.

Outside of the nifty Copeland, the Bulldogs struggled to score inside. The Bulldogs struggled to score outside, too. At one point, they were among the top teams in the conference in three-point shooting, now not so much. Yale has been struggling as of late and it continued Friday with a 3 of 14 showing on three-pointers. None of it is good next to 17 turnovers.

"Turnovers have just killed us," Jones said. "We can't turn the ball over against a good team and expect to win."

As a result of this loss, the Bulldogs have a new streak going now — four straight losses, tying the one they accumulated from Nov.20-30 with losses at Virginia, Pittsburgh, Vermont and Bryant.

These four losses (Harvard, Princeton, Penn and Harvard again) are a little different in that the Bulldogs only have three games left. And after Princeton and Harvard — Nos. 1-2 in the league — Yale, Penn, which routed the Bulldogs by 19 points on Sunday, and Columbia are vying to become the final two to qualify for the first-ever Ivy League tournament next month at the Palestra in Philadelphia.

"You just want to keep playing," Jones said. "I thought we played better in the first half of this game than we have the last three, so let's try to build on that and be better for [Saturday at Dartmouth], and then you have two more games at home. We're playing three teams we've already beaten so let's hope we can go out and be able to do the same, play well enough to do the same. You've won games on the road, you expect that you'd be good enough to go home and win."

Cornell and Columbia are the Bulldogs' final two regular season opponents.

Jones was right about the first half.

The Bulldogs, on the strength of Downey's 10 points, their whopping 24-11 advantage on the boards and somewhat containment of Aiken, held a 34-31 lead at halftime.

Yale, which like Harvard shot 44.8 percent from the floor, had a six-point lead, its largest of the first half with 6:15 to go, then went scoreless over the next four-plus minutes. The Crimson went on a 7-0 run completed by a big dunk by Chris Lewis with 3:39 to go for a 29-28 Harvard lead.

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