It was more like a tragi-comedy in two acts than a basketball game at the Indoor Athletic Building Saturday night, as Cornell defeated Harvard in a dreadful little performance, 51 to 42.
The Crimson performers played their role of fall guys to the hilt. After building up to a 27 to 18 lead at the intermission, they all but fell on their collective faces in the second act of the show which mercifully was only a one night stand.
Starring roles were left to the visitors from Ithaca. Walt Ashbaugh led the cast he scored 16 points--but talent scouts highly praised the performances of Hillary Chollet and John Rose who helped to shock most of the audience in the final twenty minutes of the play.
Ed Smith led the Crimson to the halftime climax with eight points. His work on offense coupled with Chip Gannon and Walt McCurdy on defense enabled Harvard to snatch a nine point lead before the denouement came later on.
Harvard stayed ahead throughout the entire first period, but it took Cornell just five minutes of the second half to pull to a 29 to 28 lead, and then to 33 to 28, mostly on the work of Rose who dropped two set shots and tapped in another. Hold scoreless for the first half, Rose scored ten points in the second.
Seven minutes elapsed before Bill Barclay's squad could even score one point after its halftime rest. That was on a foul shot by John Rockwell. Two minutes later Bill Prior landed a field goal for the first from-the-floor score by Harvard in the period.
The Big Red lead was momentarily overhauled at 41-41 with four minutes left in the game, but Ashbaugh's hook shots and Chollet's layups sealed the contest as the Crimson futilely tried to get and keep control of the ball.