HANOVER, N.H.--The walls of Dartmouth's gym are green, the wooden benches are slated seats of dull gray. Perhaps the color scheme is no apt a metaphor as anything for their basketball season. The Green played big in the first half of last night's Ivy encounter against Harvard, but a combination of an inspired Crimson second-half play, and a self-imposed Dartmouth belittlement led Harvard to a 77-72 win.
Certainly the Crimson has had trouble of its own this season, but they are nothing compared to Dartmouth's. The Green is working on its first unvictorious Ivy campaign since 1965 to complement a 6-18 overall second.
The Harvard team that emerged at halftime and erased a 37-31 Dartmouth lead couldn't have contrasted more to the one that started the game. Sluggishness and lack of tenacity have plagued the Crimson all season and for most of the first 20 minutes of last night's contest, the team looked like it was to play that tune one more time. Thirty-nine percent shooting complemented a 17-12 rebound deficit for the first half.
Coach Prank McLaughlin said after the game. "That must have been the boot half of basketball they played all year. I told the gays a lot of teams would have been-crushed, but hung in there and when they made a run at us we made the foul sots when it counted.
Follow the Leader
If you didn't know better, judging from their first half performance, you might have thought that Dartmouth had a pretty good basketball team, or at least one that had won a couple of Ivy games. Winning the opening tip and connecting on its first five shots from the field, the Green opened leads of 14-B, 23-16 and 31-16 in the game's opening stanza.
Brain Burke (eight), Captain Jon Edwards (nine), and Paul Anderson (eight) connected on mid-range shots, exuding the confidence-of a league-leading team as the Green shot 99 percent for the half compared in the Crimson's 39 percent. Dartmouth outrebounded Harvard 17-12. mainly on the defensive boards. Very few of their points came on second shots: very few of their shots came off the glass.
Despite Dartmouth's big lead. Harvard played in the game, and eventually came back to within six points (37-31) at the half. Bon Ferry showed his must staff, rarely missing from 12 feet to score ten points. Joe Carrabino matched the total to lead the Crimson.
Conspicuous in his absence after seven minutes of the first half was a Calvin Dixon. McLaughlin pulled Dixon in favor of Kevin Boyle, and the substitute responded with effective defense on Edwards.
McLaughlin stuck with Boyle par--more significantly--Bon McCabe, who had replaced George White at 11:00 of the first stanza to open the second half. "McCabe came out smoking, racking up the first six points of the second half to tie the game at 37-37.
A fifteen-minute intermission reversed roles. The previously zealous Dartmouth began to feel the burden of 11 Ivy losses without a win, and the previously lethargic Crimson began to take command.
Uncharacteristic of a losing team--and to their credit--Dartmouth did not roll over and die, but chipped away at Harvard's nine-point lead. Dartmouth cut the lead to 67-66 with 1:30 left but consecutive free throws by Kevin Boyle, Ferry. White, and Carrabino (on an illegal timeout) and Dixon preserved the victory.
THE NOTEBOOK: Harvard's JV (5-10), turned in its best performance of the season, topping a previously 13-0 team. 55-51.
Dartmouth does not want to be the only team since 1965 not to win a league game guarantee they'll win one this weekend. McLaughlin said Dartmouth, like Harvard has home games with Brown and Yale the weekend.