Quintet Stuns Holy Cross
Dressler Shines In 76-67 Victory
Harvard's basketball team beat Holy Cross for the first time in 35 years Saturday, by a score of 76 to 67 in Worcester Auditorium. The game contained some ominous portents for the Crimson's future, but the story of the victory was a magnificent performance by guard Gene Dressler, who seems to have matured into a first-class ballplayer.
Dressler scored 19 points, with seven for fourteen from the floor and five for six from the foul line. The 5-11 guard grabbed eight rebounds and made nine assists, turning in an almost flawless performance. Keith Sedlacek did his usual excellent job of shooting, scoring 21 points, and George Neville looked fine in the backcourt.
Harvard outplayed the Crusaders in almost every respect, but the game was agonizingly close for 34 minutes because of the Crimson's one critical weakness: rebounding. Holy Cross does not have an exceptionally tall team -- their center. John Sullivan is 6-5 -- but they dominated the boards completely. They had 65 rebounds to Harvard's 45. Crimson center Barry Williams was roughed up a lot under the boards, got into foul trouble, and had only nine rebounds for the night. Harvard's much-improved forward, John Scott, also got nine.
The Crimson went in front 2-0 on a jump shot by Sedlacek and led all the way. Dressler netted nine points in the first nine minutes of play, and after 8:44 Harvard had a comfortable 16-8 lead. But Holy Cross quickly whittled that margin through their superior rebounding and the outside shooting of forward Richie Murphy, who had 24 points for the game. With 3:14 left in the half Harvard's lead was only two points; they left the court at halftime with a 33-30 advantage.
The game stayed just as close in the second half, as Murphy's shooting continued to be red hot, and Harvard led 50-47 with 8:22 to play. In the next four minutes Sedlacek and Scott each scored four points, and the Crimson inched ahead 59-53 with 4:26 left. Then Dressler hit a jumper. Bob Beller scored on a fast break, Williams sank two foul shots, and Beller scored on a beautiful feed from Dressler. Harvard led, 67 to 53, and that was that.
Harvard's shuffle offense was both a blessing and a curse. Holy Cross's man-to-man defense was mucilaginous, so the Crimson had to wait patiently for its shots. The shuffle usually succeeded in giving Sedlacek or Dressler a little room to pop in a jump shot.
But all too often neither Scott nor Williams was under the basket when the Crimson took its shot -- and that was one of the reasons the Crusaders dominated rebounding so completely. Furthermore, whenever Williams took a shot from outside he failed to follow it up; that's inexcusable.