The Crimson (2-12, 1-1 Ivy)—and junior center Graham Beatty in particular—was able to control center David Gardner, limiting him to just three points—all in the final two minutes with the Big Green (3-9, 1-1) facing a double-digit deficit—and five rebounds, including only one on the offensive end. Gardner scored 11 points and had seven offensive rebounds in the second half as Dartmouth pulled away in the teams’ first matchup.
“Playing the five-men in the Dartmouth scheme of things is a very challenging thing mentally,” Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said. “There’s a lot of footwork stuff... There’s a lot of movement from high to low.”
In another marked reversal from the first game, the Crimson players were able to stay out of foul trouble. Harvard committed just three first-half fouls, and sophomore power forward Matt Stehle was called for just one all game after being limited to 17 minutes—and just four in the first half—in the teams’ first meeting.
“It was a combination. The refs did a real good job of letting some stuff go that other games has been called and also we just did a better job defending with our feet rather than our hands,” Stehle said.
“I think it was easier because we knew their stuff so we weren’t caught off guard and having to hold on to retreat,” he added.
Sophomore point guard Michael Beal, who has fouled out of six games this season, remained foul-free all game.
“A big thing for us: at the end of the game, two of the starters that usually have not been on the floor at the end—Matt Stehle and Mike Beal—were both in there,” Sullivan said. “That was real big for us that we guarded without fouling.”
No Harvard player fouled out—the first time this season aside from blowout losses to BU and No. 4 Stanford that has happened.
After a three-pointer by guard Steve Callahan gave the Big Green its biggest lead of the game at 31-26 6:33 into the second half, the Crimson reeled off 14 consecutive points to take a 40-31 lead with under nine minutes remaining.
Callahan hit another three to stop the bleeding temporarily, but Harvard answered with nine more points, giving it its biggest advantage of the afternoon at 49-34 with 5:19 to play.
Dartmouth twice cut the lead to nine points, but that was as close as it would come as the Crimson cruised to its second victory in three games after opening the season with 11 losses.
Harvard won despite a lackluster outing from junior shooting guard Kevin Rogus, who was battling a broken toe. Rogus, the third-leading scorer in the Ivy League, went 0-for-7 from the floor in the first half and didn’t score for the first 32:33 of the game before finishing with five points on 1-for-10 shooting. Rogus did, however, tie a career high with six rebounds and extend his streak of consecutive free throws made to 13.
With Rogus struggling, the Crimson bench helped pick up the slack, as freshman guard Jim Goffredo, junior point guard David Giovacchini and sophomore forwards Zach Martin and Luke McCrone combined to chip in 19 points, including 10 during Harvard’s game-breaking run.
Goffredo, Giovacchini and Martin each hit first-half threes to account for nearly half of the Crimson’s 20 points at the break despite every starter seeing at least 15 minutes of action before halftime.
Harvard shot 23.3 percent from the field in the first half, hitting just two two-point shots and going nearly seven minutes without a field goal in one stretch.