GREENWICH — Thanks to Conor Harkins, it didn’t take long for Greenwich to build a double-digit lead on Fairfield Ludlowe in Tuesday night’s FCIAC boys basketball matchup.

Making shots from all areas of the floor, the hot-shooting Harkins scored 19 first-quarter points, enabling the Cardinals to seize a quick 16-point advantage.

As it turned out, the Cardinals needed Harkins’ high-scoring first quarter.

Ludlowe staged a fierce comeback, cutting Greenwich’s lead to one point toward the end of the third quarter.

Yet Harkins’ clutch fourth-quarter shooting and a strong defensive effort led Greenwich to an impressive 63-53 win over the visiting Falcons.

A senior shooting guard, Harkins scored a career-high 36 points, 24 of which came in the opening half for the Cardinals (4-4). He made seven 3-pointers for the game, including five in the first half.

“I guess you can say I was in the zone,” the 6-foot-2 Harkins said. “My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball in good spots, so I had open shots.”

Senior center Frank Lumaj was a force inside for the Falcons, scoring a team-high 17 points. Junior guard Ryan Keeley added 15 points for Ludlowe, which has lost five straight games and is 2-6.

“That’s been the story of the season for us, we play teams close and make it a one or two-point game, but we can’t get over the hump,” Ludlowe coach John Dailey said. “We were down by a lot in the first quarter, so I like how we battled back.”

Senior guard Robert Clark had eight points for Greenwich, which like its previous game against McMahon, started fast.

Harkins’ big game began with a layup off a steal on Ludlowe’s opening possession. He then converted a 3-pointer from the right side, giving Greenwich a 5-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, the Falcons took a brief 7-5 edge on senior center Lumaj’s jump hook. But the Cards soared from there.

After Clark’s baseline layup evened the score at 7-7 for GHS, Harkins took over.

His 3-pointer from the right wing put the home team on top for good at 10-7 with 4:10 left in the opening quarter. Two more Harkins shots from beyond the arc made it 16-9 at the 3:29 mark of the first quarter. Baskets by Clark and guard Patrick McTiernan and a 3-pointer by Harkins put Greenwich ahead 25-9 after the first quarter.

“Connor came out pretty hot and capitalized on the open shots he had,” GHS coach Patrick Heaton said. “That was his best shooting performance of the season so far.”

Said Dailey: “He (Harkins) was lights out. I haven’t seen a player put on a shooting performance like that in a long time. He did a great job of catching and shooting and shooting over us.”

The visitors closed to within 40-32 at halftime and 45-44 after three quarters after Lumaj scored in the low post. A 3- pointer from guard Elias Gianopoulos and a Harkins 3-pointer made it 56-47 with 4:10 left in the final quarter.

“They played well in the second half,” Harkins said. “We knew we had to stay calm, which helped us build that fourth-quarter lead.”

Both teams played an aggressive man-to-man defense. The Falcons worked their way back into the game by outscoring GHS, 23-25, in the third quarter and 12-5 in the third.

“After the first quarter, we just kept chipping away at their lead,” Dailey said. “We’re just not good enough to fall behind by so many points and then try to come back — we’re a young team that’s getting better. I liked our effort and intensity.”

Senior guard Sean Close contributed eight points and senior forward Aidan Kudzy added six for the Falcons, who visit Ridgefield on Friday. Gianopolous scored five points for the Cards, who travel to St. Joseph on Friday.

“Our defense the first and fourth quarter was really good,” Heaton said. “We tried to rotate guys on their center (Lumaj) and I thought we did a good job. We just have to work on putting teams away when we have leads.”

GREENWICH 63, FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 53

LUDLOWE 9 23 12 9 — 53

GREENWICH 25 15 5 18 — 63

LUDLOWE (53)

Sean Close 2 3-3 8; Ryan Keeley 6 2-3 15; Cooper Nielsen 1 0-0 2; Aidan Kudzy 2 2-2 6; Paul Cipollaro 2 1-1 5; Frank Lumaj 7 3-6 17. Totals: 20 11-15 53.

GREENWICH (63): Nick Pignataro 1 0-0 2; Elias Gianopoulos 2 0-0 5; Patrick McTiernan 1 1-5 3; Robert Clark 3 1-4 8; Tim Bennett 1 0-2 2; Conor Harkins 11 7-7 36; Oliver Milledge 2 0-0 4; Ben Kraninger 1 0-0 3. Totals: 22 9-18 63.

3-pointers: FL — Close, Keeley; G — Harkins 7, Clark, Gianopolous, Kraninger.

Records: Greenwich 4-4; Ludlowe 2-6.