After junior captain Jason Norman’s driving layup rolled off the rim, Yale (9-12, 4-4 Ivy) got the ball back with 28 seconds remaining trailing 73-71. The Bulldogs immediately pushed the ball up the court to Edwin Draughan.
Draughan drove toward the paint but was met by sophomore point guard Michael Beal, who stuffed the Yale guard before he could even get a shot in the air and took the ball before being immediately fouled by Paul Vitelli.
Meanwhile, Jones was livid at the non-call on Draughan’s shot attempt. The Bulldog coach was assessed a technical foul for his display, which included running out onto the floor toward an official.
Junior shooting guard Kevin Rogus drained both technical free throws and Beal converted his pair as the Crimson (3-18, 2-6) pulled away in the final moments.
Harvard trailed 67-65 with 4:10 left, but a three-pointer by Rogus—his sixth and last of the night—sparked a 7-0 Crimson run. Yale closed the gap to two on a Draughan drive and layup with one minute remaining, but the Bulldogs would get no closer.
Harvard appeared to be in complete control coming out of the halftime break, twice jumping out to double-digit leads. But after sophomore power forward Matt Stehle’s layup 3:22 into the second half, the Crimson went cold, hitting just two field goals in the next 5:44. Yale took advantage, reeling off an 18-5 run—including two straight steals that led directly to a dunk and a three-point play by Draughan—to take the lead back from Harvard, 54-51.
“We asked Edwin at halftime to be a leader and be one of the best players on the floor—which he is,” Jones said. “And he stepped up and he made some plays.”
Despite losing its once-formidable lead, the Crimson managed to hang around before making its late game run, never allowing the Bulldogs to push their advantage past four.
Harvard began the game with a lot of energy, but was dealt two early blows.
Junior center Graham Beatty picked up two fouls in the first 2:18 and had to take a seat. Just under a minute later, Rogus tried to draw a charge, but was called for a blocking foul. The referee did not like Rogus’ reaction to the call and charged him with a technical foul, forcing him to join Beatty on the bench with two early fouls.
“I took a charge, I hit the ground,” Rogus said. “I didn’t say anything to the ref, didn’t say any curse words, didn’t say anything, I just hit the ground. And then they call a [technical foul]. There’s nothing you can do.”
Yale took advantage, extending its early 4-3 lead to nine points at 15-6. The Crimson relied on its bench to stay in the game, as freshman guard Jim Goffredo and sophomore forward Luke McCrone hit threes and junior guard David Giovacchini banked home a jumper to keep Harvard within six with 10 minutes to go in the half.
At that point, Yale’s Casey Hughes drove toward the paint and lofted a shot that was swatted almost to mid-court by Beal, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Stehle and Rogus took over from there, combining to score all of the Crimson’s points during a 10-2 run that brought the two teams square at 24 with 7:37 remaining until halftime. Harvard capitalized on that momentum, outscoring the Bulldogs 11-6 heading into the break and holding Yale without a field goal over the final 3:46 of the half for a 35-30 advantage at the intermission.
“I don’t think we came out with a great deal of intensity to start the game,” Jones said. “But I thought we ended up giving a good effort. We caught them on a night when they made too many shots, and we gave them too many open looks.”