Harvard lost to the Pennsylvania basketball team last night 61-58 in a contest that was closer than anyone, particularly the Penn team, would have predicted beforehand. The game was marked by a brilliant first half of last aggressive, shoot-and-run ballplaying, and for a while it looked as if the holiday crowd would witness one of the finest basketball games ever played in the I.A.B. gym.
Harvard led at mid-game, 39-35, but the second half was a typical Crimson second period. There were long stretches of sloppy ball-handling, many minutes of literally pointless play, and lots of fouling.
Penn started the second half with a hard-fought scoring burst, and within two minutes had shut out the Crimson and led it up, 39-39. The Quaker's Dave Robinson, who proved to be Penn's sparkplug for the game, led the early drive with his inside shooting and rugged rebounding. He was aided by the steady outside scoring from forward Ray Carazo.
Harvard began to hit suddenly, and the Crimson ran neck and neck with the League-leading Quakers for a full ten minutes. But then, in the closing minutes of the game, fatigue began to show in both squads. Neither team seemed able to put up a good shot, or hold onto a rebound. The game which had begun so beautifully rapidly degenerated into Ivy basketball at its worst.
Finally, with 3:40 left to play, after the score had remained 55-54 in favor of Penn for two sloppy minutes, Quaker coach Bob McCloskey called a time out. When Penn took the floor again, they went into a freeze. Harvard's coach Floyd Wilson stubbornly denied basketball conventions and common sense; he refused to come out of his zone. Penn maintained possession until 1:20, when Bob Inman fouled Penn's high-scoring Sid Amira.
Amira made both foul shots, and Harvard cracked. Lynch, who had played beautifully all evening, threw the ball out of bounds, and fouled soon afterwards; Scully fouled out.
Penn made nearly all its foul shots, especially Robinson, who put in 7 of his last 8 to finish high man for the game with 17 points and 15 rebounds. He was followed by Carazo, who had 16 points, and Rhodes scholar John Wideman (10). Inman was high man for the Crimson with 16, followed by Lynch (15) and Vern Strand (13).