Tuesday night was an evening for prospecting. Unfortunately for Harvard basketball the Crimson came up with Silver and Springfield College found Gold.
Lou Silver, a 6 ft. 7 in. smooth-shooting junior forward dropped in 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds Tuesday night. Silver also led Harvard in a late second half comeback that erased an 11 point deficit.
Silver and the rest of the Crimson squad shot 56.1 per cent from the floor to the Chiefs' 52.1 per cent and 77 per cent from the foul line to Springfield's 75. Rebounds? Harvard 47, Springfield 26.
But it wasn't enough. Despite the Crimson's sterling play, Springfield won, 84-82, in overtime.
Why? Springfield panned Gold. Joel Goldson to be exact, a 5 ft. 10 in. guard, shooting from the top of the key and the baseline kept arching the ball into the basket so gracefully that one had to wonder if the ghost of Dr. Jimmy Naismith was pulling strings.
Goldson shot 16 for 28 from the floor and had a perfect night at the charity stripe to total 38 points. He dampened Cantabrigian hopes as effectively as any December rainstorm, tallying 22 points in the first half alone.
He also showed poise under pressure. At the end of the first half Goldson scored on three long jumpshots in the last minute to give his team a 35-32 lead. The last basket came with one second on the clock and left the partisan crowd roaring.
And when the real squeeze was on, 82-82 in overtime and Springfield in possession of the ball with 13 seconds to go, everyone in Memorial Field House knew who the Chiefs would go to.
Goldson drove clamly to the basket for a game-winning layup with three seconds to play.
The loss, which dropped Harvard's record to 1-3, came a week after Tom Sanders's squad pulled a 65-64 win over Dartmouth out of the fire. Tony Jenkin's technical foul shot, after an illegal sixth timeout called by a Big Green player, with zero time on the clock produced Sanders's first coaching win. (Incidentally, both the AP and this reporter are guilty of stating no time remained in that game, when actually a fraction of a second was left before the buzzer.)
Tuesday night in Springfield it was good to see Silver, Arnie Needleman (23 points on deadly outside shooting), Mike Griffin, Ken Wolfe and Jenkins pull together and play so well.
On Saturday night UConn had smashed the Cagers by a score still painful to write about. Suffice it to say Harvard's squad looked like they were filming retake of Night of the Living Dead.
One other thing stood out. Sanders is so cool under pressure it is hard to tell how many years he's been coaching. He tried everything in the book: a 2-1-2 zone, a full court press at the very end, tight man-to-man half court defense, strategic substitutions, and brilliant use of Harvard's timeouts, but all to no avail.
Because Tuesday night all that glittered was Gold.