NEW YORK -- With 17:20 remaining in the second half of Harvard's 77-70 overtime victory over upset-minded Columbia, the sellout crowd at Levien Gymnasium rose to its feet and began to chant "M-V-P! M-V-P!"
"Linsanity" had arrived.
New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who had just finished up a team charity event at Chelsea Piers before heading uptown, acknowledged their reaction before sitting in his seat 10 rows behind the Crimson bench alongside Spike Lee (captured here on Twitter), watching as his alma mater kept its hopes of ending a 65-year NCAA Tournament drought alive. Lin didn't show much emotion, applauding clutch plays when he wasn't texting.
It certainly was a heckuva back-and-forth Ivy League affair, but once the final outcome was no longer in doubt, Lin exited with an entourage of security guards and his parents and headed down to the Harvard locker room to offer his sincerest congratulations.
"I just gave him a hug and told him how proud I am of him," said Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, who coached Lin from his sophomore season to his senior year.
"He just told us to 'Bring it home [Saturday at Cornell]. Just pay attention to details and finish up,'" said junior forward Kyle Casey, who played one season with Lin.