Led by freshman Wally Rutecki, the Harvard junior varsity basketball team ended its 1979-80 season last night with an impressive, come-from-behind, 83-73, victory over the Harvard Classics before a small but vocal crowd at the IAB.
Hindered by turnovers and poor offensive execution during the first half, the Crimson rebounded from a 43-36 half-time deficit with a fine team effort in the second half, upsetting the heavily favored Classics squad for the first time in three meetings this season.
The victory leaves the young hoopsters with a 16-3 record. The Classics, who finished the season 24-4, now begin preparation for their spring exhibition trip to Cuba.
Billed by WHRB celebrity Dave Scheper as "the Harvard version of the national championship," the contest proved to be a seesaw encounter throughout most of the first 20 minutes of action.
Utilizing a variety of former varsity performers, the Classics jumped out to an early lead and extended it with a patient offense and stellar individual efforts to a seven-point half-time bulge.
But the Classics didn't enjoy the remainder of the evening. The j.v. hoopsters struck back from the opening tap of the second stanza, displaying depth and hustle. Rutecki, who finished the evening with a game high 22 points, sparked the Crimson with near-perfect shooting and adept ball-handling.
Jeff Srinivasan and Mike Alter led the charge as the j.v.'s chipped away at the Classics' lead until Rutecki's jumper with 9:50 remaining gave the Crimson a 54-53 lead which it never relinquished. The freshmen-dominated squad avoided the turnovers which marred its first-half performance and coasted to an upset victory and the so-called "Harvard crown."