True to Coach Wes Fesler's pre-season prediction, the 1937-38 Varsity basketball team is much better than last year's. While Fesler was hesitant in prophecying a more successful league season for his charges than the quintet that a year ago had six victories against as many setbacks, it is almost certain that this year's team will more than equal that record.
To date Varsity five has won five games and lost two in the mythical Ivy League circuit. Including all games played, the Crimson has amassed the outstanding record of 11 triumphs against the two lone defeats, one to Dartmouth and the other to Yale. Their six victories before the opening of the league season, really made them the unofficial champions of Greater Boston, trouncing all the college teams in this vicinity.
In the remaining games of the year, the Foslermen will meet Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Princeton away, while facing Yale and Dartmouth at the Indoor Athletic Building. Fortunately Harvard has previously trounced the three teams which they must face on the enemy courts and will have an excellent chance to duplicate their performance with Penn undoubtedly furnishing the stiffest opposition.
Both Yale and Dartmouth defeated the Crimson by a margin on their own floor. At Hanover, the Indians sneaked through by a 43-42 victory in one of the best games of the year. At News Haven, the underrated Elis upset the tired Varsity, who obviously were far from top form as the result of a layoff of nearly a month by a 35-33 score. When the Blue and the Crimson clash again at Cambridge, the results are likely to be reversed. The League leading Dartmouth quint must necessarily continue as the favorite because of their consistent winning. But all indications point to a close game.
Individual scoring means little in the Fesler system which depends on fast, clever ball-handling working in toward the basket. Sudden breaks by one of the forwards provide the scoring punch, with tall John Herrick stationed under the basket to tip in any shot that misses he center of the rim. When the players have the "eye", the system is unbeatable. In the same way, a great deal of the team's success depends on whether Herrick has the touch to bat the ball in.
Although John apparently lost "the touch" midway in the season when he went into a scoring slump, the tall center is high point man thus far with 126 tallies, 49 of which were scored against league competition.
Charlie Lutz (pronounced Lootz), the other newcomer on the first string along with Herrick this year, is the highest scorer in circuit games with 59 points and a total of 89 for the season. Captain of the Freshman five a year ago, Lutz has more than fulfilled expectations. Although this is his first year in Varsity competition, in every game he has been the outstanding dribbler and master ball-handler on the floor.
Red Lowman, one of the League's high scorers last year, started the season off in brilliant form. Opposing guards were instructed to watch him closely with the result that Lowman's effectiveness dropped rapidly and at present he is far from top form. Due to his early season shooting, Lowman has a total second only to Herrick with 107 points, to these, 43 were made in league competition. At present Fesler has been replacing Lowman with either Arnie Litman or Fred Heckel until he breaks out of his slump.
Captain Vernon Struck has also been having difficulty in hitting the basket this season with a scant 23 points in league competition. But Struckie along with Ulysses Lupien has played a major part in the Crimson defense that has been so effective in the last few games. Against Columbia the Feslerman were able to hold the opposition to six points in the second half and Tuesday night kept the Ithacans to eight tallies in the last period.
Together with being more than capable on the defense, Lupien is always an offensive threat, having chalked up 38 points to his credit in league games, including 12 against Dartmouth when he led the Crimson scorers.
while reserves remain a problem for Fesler, the showing of Heckel and Litman, in particular, in relief role has dispelled much of the coach's worry about replacing his regulars. Both are erratic, but when inserted in the lineup are of great benefit, if only for enlivening the entire team by their freshness. Heckel sometimes goes in at guard along with the dependable John Dampeer and Dick Wills.