An eight-point spurt by Yale in the closing four minutes enabled the Elis to take a 76-70 victory over Harvard's varsity basketball team in a close Ivy League game last night in the IAB.
It was a disappointing loss for coach Bob Harrison's team, which must outdistance Yale in order to finish in the first division of the League. The Crimson is now 1-5 in league play, and 5-12 overall. Yale, with no seniors on the squad, owns a 3-3 Ivy record. Tonight at 8 p.m. Harvard hosts Brown, whom the Elis have downed twice, in a game that the Crimson must win.
The Harvard scoring was evenly distributed as four men tallied in double figures. Chris Gallagher and Mike Janczewski netted 17 points apiece to lead the Crimson offense, but Yale's talented sophomore Jim Morgan led all scorers with 21 points. Gallagher's output moved him to within 15 points of the tenth spot among Harvard career scorers. The Crimson's Ernie Hardy topped all rebounders with 17.
The two teams battled evenly at the start of the game, and the score was 8-8 after four minutes. Yale then took command and piled up an 11-point lead, 26-15, with nine minutes left in the half. This was the Eli's biggest margin of the evening.
Harvard narrowed this lead slowly as the passing improved, and two free throws by Joe Stanislaw evened the score at 32-32, with less than three minutes remaining in the first half. A gorgeous hook shot by Hardy enabled the Crimson to lead by two points, but Yale retaliated with six consecutive points and was never headed thereafter. The halftime score was 38-35.
The Elis changed to a zone defense in the second half and maintained their narrow lead for nine minutes. But, on a pass from Dale Dover, Gallagher made a layup and was fouled. Gallagher converted the free throw and knotted the score at 53-53.
The Crimson, however, could not keep the momentum, and Yale recovered a narrow lead, and held it, on the sharp outside shooting of Morgan and Dan Peters. The two teams traded baskets for several minutes with Eric Gustavson, Hardy, and Janczewski pumping in long jumpers.
With 4:38 remaining, Gallagher tied the game for the fourth time on two free throws. Again, the Crimson could not get the go-ahead hoop, and after Peters scored for the Elis, Yale began to stall effectively. Harvard was forced to make mistakes and commit fouls, and the Big Blue netted eight consecutive points to assure victory.
The two teams meet again March 1 in New Haven.