After playing on even terms with Yale for 34 minutes last night, the Crimson basketball team fell apart before an unusual Eli spread offense and lost, 61 to 53.
Both teams played shoddy basketball for most of the game, and until the final minutes neither Harvard nor Yale was able to amass a lead larger than four points. With nine minutes to play, the Crimson led 44 to 40, but Yale capitalized on bad shooting and ball handling by the Crimson to inch ahead, 47 to 46.
At this point the Bulldogs began to employ the strategy which had throttled the Crimson at New Haven last month They positioned two guards and a forward near the mid-court stripe and froze the ball until Harvard was forced into a man-to-man defense. Then the Elis would take turns running in toward the basket until one of them could shake off his defender, take a pass, and make an easy layup.
Within three minutes Yale scored four straight baskets using this technique and put the game on ice.
Harvard had led throughout most of the game. Although Eli star Rick Kaminsky was gunning them in as usual (he had 23 points for the game), fine play by Merle McClung and Barry Williams enabled the Crimson to take a 27-26 halftime lead.
Williams, who has shown tendencies toward lassitude all season, played one of his best games of the year, hustling every minute and pulling down eight rebounds in the first half.
The Crimson maintained a narrow advantage through the third quarter until Williams drove in for a two-pointer that made the score 44 to 40. In the process he bowled over Kaminsky and fouled out of the game. Then came the deluge.