Tom Mannix demonstrated basketball's redemptive powers last night, making up for missed lay-ups by hitting six straight free-throws in the final two minutes to lead Harvard to a ragged 78-68 victory over St. Anselm's at the sparsely populated IAB.
Captain Bob Allen saved the Crimson from the humiliation of defeat by an NCAA Division II team by scoring 13 points in the second half for an evening total of 16. Harvard's record goes to 7-12.
It was the Hawks, however, that demonstrated to near perfection the fine art of the jump shot in the first half. St. Anselm's shot a sizzling 70 per cent, sparked by the efforts of Jamie Oliver (six for six) and Matt Burdick (six for seven).
Add to the Hawks' hot hands a patriotic Harvard defense; perhaps in honor of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, the Crimson stood rigidly at attention throughout, watching the Hawks repeatedly crash the offensive boards and soar to a 43-36 halftime lead.
Don Fleming, Harvard's leading scorer with 19, ended the half on a satisfying note, with a crash dunk at the buzzer, but even that could not make up for a desultory 20 minutes of hoop.
This is how badly things were going: in the warmups between halves, Harvard's Dave Cohn was nailed with a technical foul for stuffing the ball on lay-up lines.
All The Way Back
Allen's shooting brought the Crimson back in the second half, and one of the few successful Mannix jumpers ( 3 for 14 on the night) put the cagers in front for the first time in the half, 55-54, with 8:51 to go.
The score was knotted six times and the lead changed hands six more before Mannix's free throws put the game on ice in the final few minutes.
Coach Frank McLaughlin chose not to substitute in the second half--a mysterious decision, considering his squad's unimpressive performance against this co-educational school of just 1650 students.
Harvard suffered an inevitable letdown after it played perhaps its best game of the year last Saturday night, a narrow loss to Penn. Letdown certainly will be no excuse this weekend when Cornell (Friday night at 8 p.m. with WHRB and Channel 25 covering) and Columbia (Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on WHRB) come into town.
Harvard's Ivy League record stands at two wins and five losses.
THE NOTEBOOK: Dave Coatsworth, who played on McLaughlin's squad, came close to collecting a trip to Bermuda, narrowly missing his half-court bomb in the "Bermuda Shoot." ... Cheer of the night after Oliver finally missed a shot, "Ha, ha, he's human." ... The time of the game and an unknown opponent combined to make this the smallest IAB crowd of the year, generously estimated at 300.