A raucous, highly partisan crowd of 2000 last night saw the varsity quintet come from seven points behind in the second half to edge Brandeis, 74 to 73, in Waltham. The Crimson went ahead for good with three and a half minutes to go on a jump shot by Bob Bowditch, but at that point the eventual outcome was still very much in doubt.
Bill Richling followed shortly with a tip-in for a three point lead, 70 to 67, but Brandeis closed in on a lay-up by sophomore Larry McNulty, the game's high scorer with 31 points. The squads again traded baskets, and after George Harrington put the varsity ahead by three once more, McNulty matched Harrington's two free throws, thus narrowing the margin to one with a minute and a half left.
Although no further scoring took place, there was plenty of action, as Brandeis foiled the Crimson's freeze tactics three times only to blow easy shots under the basket, each time protesting that the shooter was fouled, This may well have been the case, but since the officials seemed to make the wrong decisions more often than not--bringing complaints from both coaches--it came as no surprise.
The first half started at an incredibly fast pace, with the Judges trailing, but they came from behind to tie the score, 20 to 20, at the 10:40 mark. Then Brandeis went out in front, stifling the varsity with a zone defense and all the while increasing the lead to 39-30 at half-time.
Employing a man-to-man defense, the Crimson opened the second half with a scoring spurt, capped by Richling's lay-up, that gave the varsity a 47-46 advantage at the 5:40 mark. And despite McNulty's 23 points in the second half, fine play by Griff McClellan, Richling, Bowditch, Harrington, and Bob Repetto kept the Crimson close enough to set the stage for the final rally.
Especially praiseworthy was McClellan, who, under the pressure created by hoots and catcalls, sank seven free throws without a miss, all at crucial times. He ended up with 15 points, behind Harrington and Richling, who led the attack with 18 and 16 respectively.
Obviously, the Brandeis cheerleaders didn't help.