Tuesday night at Briggs Cage may have been the opening of the Ralph James show.
The exciting Crimson freshman who leads the squad in scoring and rebounding had given Briggs fans a sneak preview of greatness. But they were still waiting for the complete play.
Finally, James' one-man show nearly upset Ivy League frontrunner Dartmouth. Tuesday, the Crimson extended the Big Green into double overtime before finally succumbing, 91-89.
"He's a great player," Harvard Coach Pete Roby said. "[Tuesday], he showed what he can do."
James set a Harvard freshman record by pouring in a career-high 34 points and tying his career high of 11 rebounds. The West Hempstead, N.Y., native fired in 11 consecutive points in the final 1:06 of the first overtime to rally the Crimson from an 81-73 deficit and force a second overtime.
James, who averages 15.4 points per game, is on pace to break the freshman scoring record set by Harvard's all-time leading scorer, Joe Carrabino.
Carrabino, who scored 1880 career points, averaged 14.6 p.p.g. during his freshman season.
On the night, James set or tied six individual highs for the season. In addition to his 34-point outburst, James set a team high for field goal attempts (26) and free throws made and attempted (11-for-11) in a game this season.
He also tied his own record for most field goals made in a game (10) and most three points shots made (3) and attempted (8).
James, who has already captured the Ivy Rookie of the Week award twice, led the team in scoring for the 10th time in 16 outings. He has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in five games this season.
Not to mention the four assists and two steals he had while playing in 47 of the game's 50 minutes.
While it may be hasty to assume that James is headed for some kind of All-Ivy honor just yet, it does look like James is a sure-fire bet for the Ivy League Rookie-of-the-Year award. The last Crimson player to claim that honor was Harvard's third all-time leading scorer, Bob Ferry, in the 1981-82 season.
James' feats have not gone unnoticed. He is scheduled to appear in upcoming issues of Sports Illustrated and USA Today.
Double Trouble: Tuesday's loss was the first double overtime game that Harvard has participated in since February 17, 1984, when the Crimson fell, 74-73, to Penn at the Palestra.
In that contest, Quaker Rick Maloney grabbed an offensive rebound with five seconds left and sank a 5-ft. jumper to drop the Crimson.