It took five periods of basketball for the Harvard Crimson to defeat the Columbia Lions on Friday night in a game that only seemed to get more exciting as it went on. Down three with 4.8 seconds remaining in regulation, Gabe Stefanini ran the length of the court and sank a buzzer-beating three-point shot to send the game into its first overtime tied at 69. With 4.3 seconds remaining in the ensuing overtime period, it was Harvard that needed to travel the length of the court and sink a three for the tie. Bryce Aiken was able to do just that, heaving up a double-clutch three-pointer as time expired to send the game into the second overtime. He told The Harvard Crimson it was “the luckiest shot of [his] career.”
The next two periods didn’t result in buzzer-beaters, but they still involved some late heroics, and miscues. With just under 17 seconds left in the second overtime, Jake Killingsworth hit a three to tie the game up at 89 a piece. Aiken couldn’t repeat his heroics and missed a game-winner at the other end. He was, however, able to make up for it by sinking two late free throws to puts his team up 98-95. The effort would have all been for nothing had Columbia’s Quinton Adlesh not missed his free throws after he was fouled while shooting a three with 0.5 seconds left in triple overtime. Here’s how all that craziness looked.
Aiken’s 44-point performance on Friday was amazing for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that Aiken went down with the worst knee injury of his career back in Feb. 2018 during a game against Columbia. While none of the Lions were responsible for the injury itself, one has to assume that that connection provided Aiken an extra boost to ball the fuck out. Oh, and he was just one point shy of Harvard’s single-game scoring record. So that’s cool too.