On paper, the basketball game between Harvard and St. John's University tonight in New York looks like a David-and-Golfath proposition. And Harvard holds the short end of the stick.
Last years, St. John's finished the seasoa with a 23-6 record and an invitation to play in the NCAA tourney. Captain Joe De Pre. who scored 16.1 points per game, and Ralph Abraham, who led the team in rebounding, are returnees from that team.
This season, the Redmen are ranked as the best team in the East by three basketball magazines, and they're among the top 20 teams in the nation.
Their coach. Lou Carnesecca, is a legend himself. In four years at St. John's his ball clubs have compiled an 83-27 record. Next year he'll be the head coach of New York's new entry to the ABA, the New York Nets.
But Tuesday night, St. John's lost its opening game to Temple University in Philadelphia, 60-59. The Redmen outrebounded and outshot Temple-last year's NIT champion-but turnovers made the difference. St. John's had 19; Temple had six.
Ballhandling may be the Redmen's weakness and Harvard will have to take advantage of it to win. "Our defense will be trying to force these turnovers," said varsity coach Bob Harrison.
Ernie Hardy, who may not be at full effectiveness because of a muscle and bone bruise to his hip sustained in practive last week, will be a key man in that defense. He'll have to outrebound St. John's 6'10 center. Billy Paultz.
Harrison and his team are confident despite the impressive statisties that surround the Redmen. The Crimson has been practicing new offensive and defensive patterns in an effort to stop them. "We've got a lot to prove to the fans here and we hope we can start tonight," Harrison said.
If Harvard can ignore the statisties and put together a superb team effort, Goliath might fall to David again.
The freshman game will feature two of the best freshman in the East, St. John's boasts High School All-American Mel Davis, a 66 forward who was one of the best high school basketball players in New York City last year. Teaming up with Davis under the boards is 6'7' center Tony Prince.
The Yardling forward line of James Brown, Floyd Lewis, and Marshall Sanders will probably have a difficult time containing Davis and Prince, and their ability to do so will determine the outcone of the game.
Freshman coach Ken Klug, counting on a good fast break and control of the boards from his team, is optimistic about the game. He admits that the game will be a real test of his player's talent. "In fact," he said. "this game will probably be the ?? one we'll have all season."