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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Feb. 19--The varsity basketball team struggled to a close victory tonight over a mediocre Williams five, 69 to 66, and thereby assured itself of its best season record in three years.
Tonight's win, the team's third straight, boosted the Crimson over the .500 mark to an 8 and 7 season record. Of 24 games last year, Harvard won only 8, losing 16. Since it plays three less contests this season, even if it lost all the remaining six games, it will still have bettered its 1956 won-lost percentage.
The game opened slowly for the varsity, as Williams grabbed an early lead. Then the team's new sparkplug, George Harrington, warmed up, to help the Crimson gain a 34-32 margin by halftime.
Harvard began to pull away in the second half, and once ran the lead up to 11 points. But the team was not playing its best game, and the many fundamental errors it committed enabled Williams to stay in reach. With a minute and a half left the home team tried valiantly to overcome a 7-point deficit, but was stopped just short of success.
As he has in all three of the team's most recent victories, Harrington led the Crimson scoring. Tonight, Harvard's tiny 5ft., 7 in. ace dunked in 22 points, mostly on his deadly set shots. Ike Canty also played a key role with 16 rebounds, and 9 points.
Dick Woolston added 16 points and Bob Hastings 14. Bob Barnett's 8 rounded out the scoring, as Coach Floyd Wilson used his first five throughout the game, substituting only at the end for Hastings, who fouled out.
Foul Shooting Decisive
Free throw accuracy played a decisive role in the game tonight. Although the team has averaged only 66.6 percent on free throw attempts this season, tonight, when they counted, the team sank a phenomenal 21 for 23. Williams hit 18 for 26, a respectable showing and since each team had the same number of field goals, the Crimson's foul line effectiveness was the difference.
The freshman team won an overtime contest from the Williams freshmen, 77-72.
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