Playing a superb game, the varsity quintet upset Yale, 57 to 55, Saturday night at the Arena. Ed Smith broke through a cluster of Elis with less than a minute left to play to sink the basket which gave Harvard its first win over the Bulldogs in three years.
Smith's winning jump shot climaxed a frantic last two minutes in which three Elis tossed in quick baskets to put Yale out front, 55 to 54. Then, with a minute left, a cool Bob Bramhall brought the game under control with a foul shot followed two plays later by Smith's basket.
The Yales were fouled three times after Smith's basket and elected to bring the hall out each time. But an alert Crimson defense checked the losers until three seconds after the game was officially over, when Jim Osbourn sank a shot.
Yale got off to a fast start, grabbing an 11 to 5 lead at the five minute mark. But the Crimson, led by John Rockwell, who got 14 points in the first half, took the game away from the Elis and pulled away to a 33 to 29 edge at the half--a lead which was not lost until the Bulldogs' last minute spurt.
Harvard did not gain this upset because the Eli's were having an "off-night." As Coach Norm Shepard said yesterday "we won because the team played a 125 percent efficient game." Throughout the game, the team played heads-up ball, particularly in its handling of Yale's 2-3 zone defense.
Coach Howie Hobson's strategy was to swap a few outside shots for possession of the ball, but Hobson apparently hadn't counted on Smith's five completed set shots. The Blue was also caught short by the skill of Gerry Murphy and Dick Covey at spreading out the Eli defense and working the ball into Rockwell or Smith.
Murphy and later Covey also did a fine job of holding Ted Anderson to three baskets, and various players kept Jim Osbourn's jump shot in check (three baskets, 15 points). Another defensive high spot was the backboard work of Captain Bill Prior and Smith.