The Crimson’s exhibition game provided a sneak peek into Harvard coach Frank Sullivan’s thinking, but even after that contest, he remained unsure of how he would approach the season.
After Friday’s game, it appears that Sullivan has a clearer picture of who will shoulder the load for this inexperienced squad.
“The biggest thing—because we went in with so much unknown of our team—I think our guys have some confidence they can play,” Sullivan said.
However, though Harvard found answers to a few of its most burning questions, it appears that more unknowns have arisen that must be dealt with for this team to be successful.
Who’s on First?
Coming into the season opener, no one knew for sure who the starting five would be this season.
Sullivan decided to begin the game with two sophomores—guard Michael Beal and forward Matt Stehle—and three juniors—captain Jason Norman, guard Kevin Rogus and forward Graham Beatty.
Four players—Rogus, Beal, Norman and Stehle—spent at least 30 minutes on the floor. Beal led the way with 35.
Sullivan made good use of his bench, as nine players saw nine or more minutes.
“It’s probably as many players as we’ve played in a game in a while, so I think the guys saw that we have some depth on the team,” Sullivan said.
The Crimson substitutes registered 16 points on the night, including a crucial three-pointer by freshman guard Jim Goffredo that jump-started a Harvard team that fell behind 13-2 out of the gate. Sophomore forward Zach Martin also added a big three before halftime to tie the score at 25 after the Crimson had trailed the entire first half.
Nine minutes into Friday night’s game, Harvard had only recorded two points—those coming on a jumper by Beal.
“We’re not happy about [the low field-goal percentage], but a lot of that came in the first 10 minutes of the game,” Beal said.
The offense found its rhythm and went on to score 60 points on the night, but the underlying indicators of offensive productivity were not so positive.