Two nearly impossible things happened in the Harvard men's basketball game on Saturday against Brown.
First, trading Brown by 15 points midway through the second half at Briggs Cage, the Crimson--a notoriously poor catch up team--staged a thrilling rally to briefly overtake the Bears.
Second: Having seized a 71-70 lead with almost no time left, Harvard watched as Darrin Bradley, Brown's junior center, stepped to the free throw line and coolly sank two shots.
What were the chances that Bradley, a 46 percent free throw shooter who had already hit three of four for the night, would sink two more?
"I didn't think there was any way--I mean, no way at all--that he was going to make both of them," Harvard freshman forward Terry Mann said.
Not many other people in the gym did either, but Bradley never flinched as he handed Harvard (4-15 overall, 1-7 Ivy) its twelfth loss in 14 games.
"On that last possession, it was tough to stop [Browns freshman guard] Eric Blackston from getting inside, but I thought that we forced the ball into the right guy's hands," Harvard Coach Frank Sullivan said. "You just have to credit Bradley for hitting the shots."
The Crimson had hoped to sweep this weekend's games against Yale and Brown, its two weakest Ivy League opponents, and the loss Saturday tarnished the previous night's win over Yale.
"We're certainly very disappointed," Sullivan said. "A win would've been a nice way to establish ourselves going into the last six Ivy games, but we just have to keep trying."
On Saturday, a sluggish first half ended with Brown up 30-27. The Bears then came out of the locker room much more quickly than the Crimson, displaying the same quick, aggressive attack that they used to upset Princeton last weekend.
A 19-7 Brown run capped by a Steve Silas dunk with 11:28 to play left Harvard down 49-34, and another defeat seemed certain.
The Crimson chipped away at the lead, however, and when Silas missed a dunk with 5:11 to go, Mann grabbed the rebound, got fouled and converted a free throw to pull Harvard to within 64-55.
Eight quick Tyler Rullman points narrowed Brown's lead, and freshman Mike Gilmore put the Crimson up by one point after rebounding junior Tarik Campbell's free throw miss with 16 seconds to go.
It was at that point, unfortunately, that Bradley stepped up for Brown with his improbable heroics.
THE NOTEBOOK: Gilmore won Rookie of the Week honors for the second week in a row. The California native was 11-for-15 from the floor (8-for-9 from downtown) and solidified his place as one of the Ivy League's top freshmen....Harvard faces Hartford and NBA-bound Vinnie Baker tonight in Hartford. BROWN, 72-71 at Briggs Cage Brown 30 42 -- 72 Harvard 27 44 -- 71
Brown: Koplik 1-4 3-4 5; Clayton 2-4 0-0 5; Smith 0-4 2-4 2: Mills 0-1 0-0 0; Lloyd 1-2 0-0 2; Blackiston 1-7 8-8 10; Joseph 2-3 2-2 6; Cole 6-15 3-5 19; Silas 5-8 0-0 12; Bradley 3-7 5-6 11. Totals 21-55 23-29 72.
HARVARD: Campbell 3-10 10-14 16; Rullman 6-16 1-3 13; Gilmore 7-9 2-2 20; Morns 0-1 0-0 0; Mann 2-4 2-4 6; Llopis 1-3 4-5 6; Kubrak 0-0 0-0 0; White 1-1 0-2 2; Rankin 3-5 2-4 8. Totals 23-49 21-34 71.