March 3 (Bloomberg) -- New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin watched his alma mater Harvard University move one step closer to its first men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament appearance.
Lin was on hand last night to see Kyle Casey score 19 points for the Crimson, who beat Columbia University 77-70 in overtime at Francis S. Levien Gymnasium in New York.
Lin, 23, a Harvard economics graduate, was undrafted and cut by two National Basketball Association teams before he came off the Knicks’ bench on Feb. 4 to spark a 10-3 record. The 6-foot-3 Lin played four years at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard and was a unanimous first-team all Ivy League selection in 2010 as a senior.
The Crimson (25-4), the preseason Ivy League favorite, improved their conference record to 11-2 with one regular-season game remaining today at Cornell. The University of Pennsylvania also won and could force a playoff for the NCAA spot.
There have been eight tiebreakers in the history of the Ivy League, the only conference in basketball’s top division without a season-ending tournament. Penn has won at least a share of the league title 25 times since 1957, second to Princeton’s 26, while Harvard’s co-title last year was its first.
Harvard, which led 34-30 at halftime, was outscored 32-28 in the second half as Columbia’s Mark Cisco tied the game at 62-62 with two layups. Oliver McNally missed a 3-pointer with two seconds left in regulation.
Brian Barbour led Columbia (14-15, 3-10 Ivy) with 23 points.
Penn (18-11) defeated Brown University (8-22) 54-43 to push its Ivy League record to 10-2 with games remaining today at home against Yale University and on March 6 at Princeton University.
Zach Rosen had 19 points for the Quakers at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Jean Harris led the Bears with 16.
If Harvard and Penn both finish with 12-2 records, they would have a one-game playoff to determine the conference’s automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament.
Harvard lost in the final second of a one-game playoff with Princeton last season after the two schools tied for the regular-season conference title.
In other Ivy League games, it was Princeton 64, Yale 57 and Cornell 70, Dartmouth 57.
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