Harvard's basketball team could not match the muscle of Cornell under the boards, and the Crimson succumbed 85-71 in the IAB Saturday night.
Harvard actually had a height advantage, but there is a difference between a tall man and a big man. The Big Red's Walt Esdaile is a big man -- at 6 ft. 5 in, and 240 pounds, he outweighs the Crimson's heaviest man by 25 pounds. Esdaile controlled the offensive board in the second half, and contributed 21 points in addition.
At the half, the Crimson led 40-37. The first five minutes were exceptionally sloppy, and even for the remainder of the half, Cornell did not look like a team with a 15-3 record. Harvard scoring was pretty evenly divided, but Barth Royer was making the team go by working his way inside a number of times -- a role usually played by Chris Gallagher. Gallagher, meanwhile was hitting form the corner.
Big Red forward Hank South did most of the damage for the visitors in the first half, with 13 points. The 6 ft. 3 in, sophomore finished the night with 27, mostly from in close.
Cornell took the lead with four minutes gone in the second half, and never relinquished it. Appropriately enough, the 46-46 tie was broken by Esdaile on a tip-in of an errant shot. A few seconds later. Esdaile scored again from right underneath the hoop. A couple of jump shots by guard Greg Morris (19 points) opened the lead and Harvard was never to make it close again.
The only excitement left was a time-wasting display of dribbling by Cornell's Blaine Aston with about four minutes to play. Aston was helped by the fact that no one on the floor for Harvard made much of an effort to hound him.
The losing Crimson had five men in double figures. Gallagher had 16 points, and Jeff Grate had 15. Royer and Gene Dressler had a dozen each, and Bob Kanuth scored ten.
It was Harvard's eighth loss in Ivy competition against one win -- Friday night against Columbia. Cornell is now 8-1 in the league, including a 96-62 win over the Crimson in Ithaca.
Harvard concludes its home stand with games next Friday and Saturday night against Yale and Brown, respectively.