After suffering a humiliating 51-44 loss to Columbia Friday night, the Crimson basketball team decimated Cornell 59 to 42 Saturday and held third place in the Ivy League.
The contrast between the two games was almost unbelievable. Against the Lions, Harvard could do nothing right. They sank a pathetic 17 of 62 field goal attempts and never once led the mediocre Lion quintet. But on Saturday the Crimson squad played perhaps its outstanding game of the season; they hit on 44 per cent of their shots from the floor, out-rebounded their towering opponents, and played a sterling defensive game.
Cornell took an early 4 to 1 advantage, but the Crimson then surged into a lead that it never relinquished. Within three minutes Vern Strand sank two foul shots, Len Strauss and Strand hit on short jump shots, Strand scored two more free throws, and Gene Augustine connected on two jumpers from the key; the rally put Harvard in front 14 to 4.
The invaders from Ithaca never really threatened. Looking as if they had never seen a zone defense, their attack was totally ineffectual. The Big Red shot at a scintillating 27 per cent clip, and never came closer than 35 to 27 after the Crimson's early outburst.
Leo Scully was the Crimson's standout with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Denny Lynch and Gene Augustine, who played one of the outstanding games of his career, each tallied ten.
But against Columbia, things were bleak. The Crimson was in the game until the final 30 seconds, and with a modicum of play as good as they demonstrated against Cornell they could have won it easily.
With eight minutes left in the contest, the Crimson tied the score, 36 to 36, on a three-point play by Merie McClung. But Harvard's shooting became ice cold, and in the next six minutes the quintet could only score two points, and dropped behind 45 to 33.
Foul shots by Denny Lynch and Len Strauss followed by a jump shot by Strauss brought the Crimson within three points, but Harvard blew several scoring opportunities in the last minute of play.
Vern Strand was the game's leading scorer with 11 points; Scully tallied 10, Stranss and McClung had nine.