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Harvard's varsity basketball team plays at Cornell tonight and will have to hustle to win, but after Thursday's narrow loss to powerhouse Columbia, the players must be forgiven if they are already looking forward to next Friday's rematch with the Lions at the IAB.
After 13 minutes of play against Columbia, Harvard led, 31-19, mostly on the strength of sophomore Mike Janczewski's 16 points. Columbia's ballhandling was sloppy, and Harvard executed a basic pick-and-roll play from Dale Dover to Janczewski for a couple of baskets.
The Lions fought back to tie the game within the next four minutes, but Ernie Hardy's free throw and Paul Waickowski's tip-in gave Harvard the half-time lead.
The second half was a succession of scoring skeins, first by Columbia (read "Jim McMillian" or "Heywood Dotson") and then by Harvard. Dover dropped in several lunging layups which caught the backboard at a peculiar angle but then spun into the basket.
The finish was extraordinary. Chris Gallagher--now the ninth highest scorer in Harvard history--sank two free throws to give the Crimson a 69-68 lead with 2:17 to go. On the ensuing play, McMillian fed Dotson for a layup which became a three-point play and put Columbia ahead.
Then came a key play. Down two points, Dover faked Dotson onto the floor and drove underneath, only to miss the layup. McMillian quickly tallied a bucket to make it four points and then hit two free throws after a strange foul called on Gallagher during a torrid fight for a rebound of a missed Harvard shot.
Dover matched those free throws, but Roger Walaszek got the points back on a sneak-away. 44 seconds remained, Dover made a layup and then Columbia threw the ball away, trying to break the press. Sophomore Jay Noble took a pass form Dover for another layup, cutting the margin to two with 20 seconds now left.
That was it, however, as McMillian made a pair of free throws and a final layup for the six-point victory margin.
In tonight's game Harvard, which surprised New York's sophisticated critics on Thursday, faces a fair Cornell outfit. The Big Red beat Dartmouth, 68-67, earlier this week without injured star Hank South, who is out for the rest of the season. They have lost to Columbia twice by large margins, split with Yale, and beaten Brown twice.
Burly Walt Esdaile scores about 15 points a game from his center sport and gets help from Bill Schwarzkopf (12.8).
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