NEW YORK, N.Y.After consuming a sumptuous roast beef au jus repast at the Essex House to the clippity-clop of horse and buggies conveying honeymooning couples down Central Park South, the Harvard hoopsters journeyed uptown to the somewhat less-than-splendiferous lavender linoleum floor of Nat Holman Gymnasium, for a wide-open shoot-'em-up game against the City College of New York.
The Crimson came away with a 92-81 win for its first victory of the season and of rookie head coach Frank McLaughlin's career. Five cagers were in double figures, as Brian Banks and swingman Bob Hooft led the way with 19 apiece.
CCNY displayed the full panache of playground ball as the Beavers led, 64-61, midway through the second half before Hooft popped from the left corner to give the hoopsters a 70-68 lead they never relinquished. CCNY guard Rich Silvera, the school's all-time leading scorer with more than 1300 career points, scored 13 markers on the night while backcourt mate Joe "Kojak" Holman out of Harlem Prep juked and jitterbugged his way to a game high of 28 points.
With the tallest Beaver player measuring only 6 ft., 5 in., Harvard-s frontline had a field day in the first half, piling up a 47-36 bulge. Banks poured through 15 points in the stanza, getting things rolling when he connected on a three-point play to give the cagers a 7-3 lead three minutes into the game.
Banks and forward Cy Booker bandied baskets in the opening minutes, as the two combined to score 16 out of Harvard's first 18 points. Booker netted 11 points on the night for his highest scoring output this season.
Hooft checked in and promptly swished from downtown to open up the Crimson lead, 20-12, with just under 14 minutes left in the half.
City kept things tight when Silvera took a length of the board pass for a layup to make it 38-32, Harvard, and then Holman stripped guard Mike Stenhouse of the ball to cut the lead to four. That was the closest CCNY came the rest of the half and Hooft canned a reverse layup and cashed in on a 20-footer to again up the lead to eight.
When play resumed, CCNY proceeded to outscore the Crimson, 17-6, in the first five minutes of the second half. After Glen Fine drove the lane to put Harvard ahead by 13, Holman hit from the corner, Dudley Biggs dunked for the Beavers, and Banks went to the sidelines with his fourth personal foul with 16:42 left to play.
Not So Certain
Three seconds later, the quicksilver Holman darted down the lane for a three-point play to bring the score to 53-48. He hooked up on another three-point play exactly a minute later, tying it up at 53 apiece and the as-yet-winless Beavers began to look less like a Division III pushover.
Harvard got the lead back with 12 minutes to play when Hooft followed up his own shot to make it 60-59 but Silvera popped to give City a 64-61 lead, its biggest of the night.
After gamely fighting out of their chateau d'if CCNY was finally polished off by the Crimson's rapier-sharp passing in the final five minutes. Bobby Allen hit on a three-point play and dropped a pair from the line to give the hoopsters a 78-68 lead with 4:04 left in the game. Rich Bengel then found himself all alone for a layup that upped the gap to an insurmountable 11 points, which proved the final margin of victory.
After running up a $310 tab on their roast beef lunch, the cagers are expected to opt for McDonalds for today's pre-game meal. They should be a little hungrier when they journey to Rose Hill Road to face Fordham here tonight, where McLaughlin both played and served as assistant coach.