The Harvard men’s basketball team reached the third round of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year Thursday with a 61-57 upset win over Cincinnati in the No. 5 versus No. 12 matchup in the East Region.
It’s the Crimson’s second-ever March Madness victory, and they are the first Ivy League team to win NCAA tournament games in back-to-back seasons since Princeton did it in 1983 and ’84.
Harvard (27-4) will play No. 4 Michigan State on Saturday.
The Crimson jumped to a 36-29 halftime lead, and even though they struggled to score in the final six minutes of regulation, the veteran-laden team made its free throws in the final minute to secure the win.
Junior guard Wesley Saunders led the Crimson with 11 points. He was one of five Harvard players who scored at least nine points.
Harvard’s defense also was outstanding. The Crimson closed down shooters, pressured Cincinnati guards at the perimeter and held the Bearcats to just 36.8 percent shooting from the field.
Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick led Cincinnati (27-7) with 18 points in his final collegiate game.
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