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When the Harvard basketball team steps on the floor tonight in New Haven, it will have its last chance, by most counts, to salvage the rest of its season.
The Crimson, floundering in last place in the Ivy League with an 0-6 record, has lost eight of its last ten games, and has been suffering from lack of offensive cohesiveness all season.
Some changes are due, and according to assistant coach Ernest Hardy, Harvard will field a different starting line-up tonight, though he would not say what the changes were.
Judging from his performance in the Princeton game last weekend, junior forward Eric Fox could be starting tonight. Fox scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the second half against the Tigers, and proved he is a hustler.
Junior guard Jean Wilkinson, like Fox, played an outstanding game against Princeton, and is a likely starter tonight. Jim Fitzsimmons, who is ranked tenth in the nation is scoring with a 25.1 average, Tony Jenkins, and Floyd Lewis could round out the squad.
Whoever starts, the Crimson will have its hands full. Yale will be flying high now that Harvard looks so vulnerable, and with a 4-2 record is shooting for a first division finish.
Yale has compiled a 6-10 overall mark, but it has played a much less grueling schedule than the Crimson, posting wins over Brown and Wake Forest early in the season and over the Australian National team, Cornell (twice), Columbia, and MIT.
Scott Michel, the Ivy League's leading rebounder last season, has been ineffective this winter, but is still grabbing 9.3 rebounds a game to pace his team. Sophomore Mike Baskauskas has taken up the slack, however, and is the Elis' top offensive threat. He is averaging 19.9 points and 8.6 rebounds a game.
Baskauskas poured in 59 points last weekend against Columbia and Cornell, and is Yale's most consistent player. The Crimson must stop him effectively, especially on the offensive boards, if it expects to record its first Ivy victory.
Mike McLaren, a 6-0 senior guard, and 6-4 sophomore Tim Kearns form the Elis' backcourt, and Gary Rinck, a 6-7 sophomore, starts at center. Yale is a young team and has had troubles this season because of inconsistency. If the Crimson can take advantage of that fact it should handle the Elis with ease.
Otherwise, Harvard could fall prey to the psyched Yalies, a sad comment on the Crimson's inability to blend its talent into a winning team.
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