With one second left in last night's Harvard-St. Louis University basketball game, Billiken center Mike Lockette sank a free throw, and St. Louis edged the Crimson, 65-64.
Displaying improved ball handling and strong defense, Harvard stayed within a few points of the Billikens, who lost to sixth-ranked Notre Dame Saturday night by one point, throughout the game.
The Crimson's performance, though it lowered the squad's record to 3-2, helps to establish the team in national basketball circles, and bodes well for a first-division finish in the Ivy League when the squad finishes its grueling holiday schedule.
Harvard captain Dale Dover, who contributed 12 points to the team's effort, played superb defense against Jim Irving, St. Louis main offensive threat, holding him to four points. Irving's lowest scoring effort until yesterday had been 24.
As in its four previous games, the Crimson controlled the boards, out rebounding the Billikens, 39-30, with sophomore forward Floyd Lewis grabbing 11 caroms. Sophomore center Tom Mustoe proved himself a formidable competitor at the varsity level by snatching ten rebounds and leading the team offensively with 13 points.
Harvard had four players in double figures-Mustoe, Dover, Lewis with ten points, and junior guard Matt Bozek with 12. That kind of balanced scoring, if it continues, will shield the Crimson from strong individual defensive performances by its opponents.
Playing a control offense, the Billikens were ahead by three, 37-34, at halftime, but Harvard, which ran its patterns more consistently that it has so far this winter, outscored St. Louis in the second half.
The game was tied more than ten times, and the Crimson was ahead by two points with two minutes remaining. But St. Louis converted two offensive rebounds; the first tied the score and the second led to the last-second free throw attempt.